[Members of the Sunflower Family in the Columbia River Gorge with Dandylion-like Flower Heads]

Microseris and Silverpuffs of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington

The Genera Microseris, Nothocalais and Uropappus

Nodding Microseris: Microseris nutans

Nodding Microseris: Microseris nutans


Wildflowers of the genus Agoseris are similar in outward appearance to those of the genus Microseris. The plants of the genus Agoseris tend to have a more hairy herbage (including involucres as seen in the photo above), and the achenes or seeds have a long stalk or beak between the achene and plume. The herbage of the genus Microseris is usually more or less glabrous with few or no hairs on leaves, stems and involucres, and the achenes lack a stalk between the achene and plume.


Apargidium, Bog Microseris, Northern Silverpuffs: Microseris borealis (Synonym: Apargidium boreale) - Perennial (with stout taproot). Stems leafless with solitary flower head. Leaves with minute teeth on margins. Plants of subalpine to alpine meadows.

Cut-leaf Microseris, Cut-leaf Silverpuffs, Cut-leaved Scorzonella: Microseris lacinata (Synonym: Scorzonella laciniata) - Perennial (with stout taproot). Stems more or less leafy, often branched with several yellow flower heads. Flower heads usually nodding before maturity are 30-250 flowered. Involucre 12-25 mm high.

Nodding Microseris, Nodding Scorzonella, Nodding Silverpuffs: Microseris nutans (Synonyms: Microseris nutans ssp. nutans, Scorzonella nutans, Scorzonella nutans var. major, Scorzonella nutans var. nutans) - Perennial (with stout taproot). Stems more or less leafy, often branched with several yellowish flower heads. Flower heads usually nodding before maturity. Involucre in large individuals to 10 mm high.

False Agoseris, Weevil Microseris, Weevil Prairie-dandelion: Nothocalais troximoides (Synonyms: Microseris troximoides, Scorzonella troximoides) - Perennial (with stout taproot). Stems leafless. Involucre 15- 25 mm high. Yellow flower heads about as wide as a quarter. The bracts beneath the flowers are green with a brown mid-stripe and often with a light white striping on both sides of this mid-stripe. The leaves are all basal, long and narrow, with wavy edges. A faint white striping may also be found on the leaf edges.

Lindley's Annual Microseris, Lindley's Silverpuffs, Linearleaf Microseris, Silver puffs: Uropappus lindleyi (Synonyms: Microseris lindleyi, Microseris linearifolia, Uropappus linearifolius) - Annual (with weak taproot). Yellow flower heads relatively large, the involucre is 15-30 mm high.


Paul Slichter