Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Agoseris glauca, Pale Agoseris

Pale Agoseris has yellow flowers consisting of entirely of “ligulate” disk florets, completing without ray florets. This species blooms from May to October throughout its large geographic range. Agoseris glauca Pale Agoseris is common throughout the western half of the United States and most of Canada. It is found in elevations ranging from 4,500 to 9,000 feet, not a desert species. Agoseris glauca Pale Agoseris has basal leaves only, the leaves may be erect, or leaves are growing out and turned up at the tips, their shape variable linear or lanceolate to oblanceolate, leaves smooth and bluish-grey or minutely villous to tomentose. Agoseris glauca Pale Agoseris has pretty flowers that sit atop long leafless stalks, or botanically correct “scapes”. Agoseris glauca

Scientific Name: Agoseris glauca
Common Name: Pale Agoseris

Also Called: False Dandelion, Pale Mountain Dandelion, Prairie Agoseris, Prairie Dandelion, Short-beaked Agoseris

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Agoseris altissima, Agoseris apiculata, Agoseris lacera, Agoseris leontodon var. aspera, Agoseris leontodon var. pygmaea, Agoseris pubescens)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 4 inches and up to 2 feet (10-60 cm).

Growth Form: Forb/herb; without growing stems, a stem-like flowering stalk may reach heights of 1 ½ feet (45 cm) (see photo above) plants more or less with bluish-gray (glaucous) herbage; surfaces smooth (glabrous) to wooly; milky sap; considerable vegetative variations locally and across its wide geographic range.

Leaves: Green; basal leaves only; leaves erect or growing outward and turned up at tips; shape variable; leaf edges (margins) mostly smooth or toothed; leaves smooth, bluish-gray, or covered in dense, soft, often matted short hairs, sometimes woolly.

Flower Color: Yellow; single flower heads on leafless supporting stalks; ligulate flowers; fruit is called a cypsela with soft, white bristles more or less resembling the puff ball of a Dandelion.

Flowering Season: May to September or October

Elevation: 6,500 to 9,000 feet (1,981-3,048 m)

Habitat Preferences: Mid to higher elevations in Arizona, multiple habitats; sunny open areas in coniferous forests such as meadows and slopes.

Recorded Range: Pale Agoseris, Agoseris glauca is common throughout the western half of the United States and most of Canada. In northern Arizona, Pima and Graham Counties.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Agoseris glauca.

North America species range map for Pale Agoseris, Agoseris glauca:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Agoseris glauca: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown

Wetland Indicator: In North America, Pale Agoseris, Agoseris glauca has the following wetland designations:

  • Alaska, FAC;
  • Arid West, FACU;
  • Great Plains, FACU;
  • Midwest, FACU;
  • Northcentral & Northeast, FACU;
  • Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FAC.

  • FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands
    FACU = Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands.

    Threatened/Endangered Information: The State of Michigan has listed Agoseris glauca (Prairie or Pale Agoseris) as Threatened.

    Genus Information: In North America there are 10 species and 10 accepted taxa overall for Agoseris. World wide, The Plant List includes 15 accepted species names and includes a further 72 of infraspecific rank for Agoseris. Common names for this genus are Mountain Dandelion and False Dandelion.

    The genus Agoseris was published in 1817 by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz, (1783–1840).

    In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and New Mexico each have 3 species of Agoseris, California has 8 species, Nevada has 6 species, Texas has 0 species, Utah has 5 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.

    There are 6 varieties in Agoseris glauca;
    Agoseris glauca var. agrestis, Pale Agoseris, (CO, MN, MO, NV, ID, OR, UT, WA)
    Agoseris glauca var. cronquistii, Pale Agoseris, (UT only)
    Agoseris glauca var. dasycephala, Pale Agoseris, (NW U.S., Canada; AZ, CO, UT)
    Agoseris glauca var. glauca, Pale Agoseris, (W½ U.S., Canada; AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT)
    Agoseris glauca var. laciniata, False Agoseris (W½ U.S., AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT)
    Agoseris glauca var. monticola, Pale Agoseris (CA, ID, NV, OR, WA).

    Comments: Pale Agoseris is not a desert species and is typically found at higher elevations in mixed coniferous forest communities. It is included here because it is common and might be encountered. Pale Agoseris, also called False- or Pale-Dandelion, should not be confused with the more traditional common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, although it is superficially similar in appearance.

    Pale Agoseris is one of 3 Agoseris species native to Arizona which also includes Annual Agoseris, Agoseris heterophylla and Orange Agoseris, Agoseris aurantiaca.

    Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
    Pale Agoseris, Agoseris glauca seeds may likely be eaten by birds and small mammals.

    Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
    Pale Agoseris, Agoseris glauca flowers may be visited by butterflies, bees and other small insects.

    The genus Agoseris (Agos'eris:) is from the Greek name for goat chicory.

    The genus Agoseris was published in 1817 by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz, (1783–1840).

    The specific epithet, glauca (glau'ca:) glaucous, from the Greek meaning "bluish-gray," referring primarily to the leaves of this species.

    Pale Agoseris has several uses including use as a candy, dermatological aid and laxative by indigenous peoples of Washington and British Columbia.

  • Thompson Food, Candy; Milky juice and milky latex chewed as gum.
  • Thompson Drug, Dermatological Aid; Milky latex used to remove warts.
  • Okanagan-Colville Drug, Dermatological Aid; Infusion of entire plant used to wash sores and rashes; a poultice of latex applied to sores.
  • Okanagan-Colville Drug, Laxative; Infusion of roots taken as a laxative.
  • Okanagan-Colville Food, Candy; Latex dried and used as chewing gum

  • See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 08/08/2012; updated 01/12/2021
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 04/20/2020).
    Gary I. Baird, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Agoseris; 1. Agoseris glauca (Pursh) Rafinesque, Herb. Raf. 39. 1833 Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973; Editor; L.Crumbacher 2011 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; - (accessed 04/20/2020).
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Agoseris glauca', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 January 2020, 20:18 UTC, [accessed 20 April 2020]
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet (accessed 04/20/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information
    Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 04/20/2020)