Stephanomeria tenuifolia, Narrowleaf Wirelettuce
Scientific Name: Stephanomeria tenuifolia
Common Name: Narrowleaf Wirelettuce
Also Called: Narrow Leaved Stephanomeria, Narrow Leaved Wire-Lettuce
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: ([Lygodesmia wrightii, Ptiloria tenuifolia, Stephanomeria minor, Stephanomeria minor var. minor, Stephanomeria minor var. myrioclada, Stephanomeria minor var. uintaensis, Stephanomeria minor var. uintensis, Stephanomeria myrioclada, Stephanomeria tenuifolia var. myrioclada, Stephanomeria wrightii)
Size: 8 to 28 inches (20-70 cm), usually about 16 inches (40 cm) or so.
Growth Form: Sub-shrub or forb/herb; plants glabrous with milky sap; rhizomes and a thick woody root crown; stems 1 to 5, erect to ascending, inter-node lengths and branching angles variable - relatively densely to sparsely branched, freely branching into slender mostly straight branchlets.
Leaves: Green; basal and stem leaves; basal leaves linear to filiform; margins entire or toothed; stem leaves (cauline) much reduced and bract-like; leaves withered or dead at flowering; all leaves hairless.
Flower Color: White, light pink, light rose, light blue; ligulate flowers solitary; flowering stem (peduncle) has bracts pressed closely but not fused (appressed) forming a cup-shaped structure called a calyculi; fruit a smooth grooved tan cypsela with a pappi of 15 to 25 bright white feathery-like bristles wholly (plumose).
Flowering Season: May or June to September
Elevation: 1,000 to 9,800 feet (300-3,000 m).
Habitat Preferences: Stephanomeria tenuifolia has the widest distribution of any species of Stephanomeria; volcanic, granitic and sandstone outcrops, rocky ridges and slopes, bases of cliffs.
Recorded Range: Narrowleaf Wirelettuce is found mostly in the west half of the United States in: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, ND, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY and also in BC, SK, Canada as well as Baja California and northern Mexico.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Stephanomeria tenuifolia as Stephanomeria minor var. minor.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
The genus Stephanomeria was published by Thomas Nuttall, (1786-1859) in 1841.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 6 species of Stephanomeria, California has 11 species, Nevada has 7 species, New Mexico and Utah each have 5 species and Texas has 4 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.Comments: Narrowleaf Wirelettuce is undergoing taxonomic changes and is also described as S. minor var. minor. As with others in the southwest, Narrowleaf Wirelettuce is one of several members of the genus Stephanomeria with similar form and dimensions of its stems and branches and it is often difficult to distinguish from others. Again, as with other species in the southwest you get a good idea just how variable this species is when you note the synonyms and vast geographic range.
Brownplume Wirelettuce, Stephanomeria pauciflora is vary similar to Narrowleaf Wirelettuce which is less woody at the base, has glands on the flowering stalk (peduncle) and the seeds have a pappus of white feathery-like bristles from top to bottom.
For excellent information on invertebrate conservation visit The Xerces Society.
The species epithet "tenuifolia" means finely-divided, slender leaves. The pre-fix "tenui" means slender.