Silvercrown (Cacaliopsis nardosmia) is a native perennial found in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. This member of the Aster Family (Asteraceae) grows in well-drained meadows and open pine and oak forests between about 650 and 7,000 feet, often in serpentine soils.

Silvercrown plants arise from woody rhizomes with fibrous root systems. There are basal as well as cauline leaves which decrease in size up the stem.The large, alternate, long-stalked leaves are palmately lobed and are green above and thinly white-wooly below.

The inflorescence is a terminal cluster containing several heads. Silvercrown flower heads are composed of bright yellow disk flowers and contain no ray flowers. The flowers have five-lobed corollas with a prominent style. There is one series (occasionally two series) of woolly phyllaries (involucral bracts), no chaff and a pappus of bristles.

The brown and veined achenes (fruits) have a pappus of many fine, minutely barbed bristles.

A synonym for C nardosmia is Luina nardosmia. The genus name means “like the genus Cacaia”, not a currently recognize genus name. In Greek the species designation refers to smelling like spikenard (a frangrant ointment): nardos/spikenard and osme/smell.

These silvercrown specimens were photographed along the Upper Table Rocks Trail north of Medford OR in May.

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1 Response to Silvercrown

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Hey, that actually looks familiar from my trip to the Pacific Northwest. The foliage looks like something that I did not recognize at a rest stop. I did not look closely enough to recognize it now.


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