Umbrella-shaped Flower Clusters )
Composite Family (Compositae)
Season: Early May
Habitat: Montane/Moist Areas
Height: Up to 30 cm
Description: This very early wildflower is often blooming long before the prairie crocus has even yawned. It can be distinguished by its thick, lightly haired, reddish-green stem, and its cluster of rough-looking white flowers. The leaves are mostly basal, without any deep notches. They are arrow shaped, and irregularly toothed. They may be as long as 25 cm. The leaves are fuzzy on the underside. Along the thick stem, numerous narrow, smooth margined, clasping leaves grow. The veins in these stem-leaves run parallel to the leaf margin. The white flowers grow in a dense terminal cluster. The tiny individual flowers resemble a ragged white daisy with a white centre, and numerous, short petals. The flowers often bloom, and may even enter the seed stage before the basal leaves sprout. The flowers are replaced by a fluffy cluster of cottony seeds.
A similar species, Alpine Coltsfoot (P. frigidus), can be distinguished by its notched leaves. Otherwise the plant is similar. It also grows higher up the slope, appearing in the subalpine as well as the montane.
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