CPC Plant Profile: Single-head Goldenweed
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Plant Profile

Single-head Goldenweed (Oonopsis foliosa var. monocephala)

Near Highway 160 in Colorado, the sandy, semi-arid short-grass steppe habitat where this species is found. Photo Credit: J. Locklear
  • Global Rank: T2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: CO
  • Nature Serve ID: 147380
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

The high plains of southeastern Colorado is home to the rayless goldenweed, a wildflower that occurs in places where erosion has thinned the mantle of shortgrass prairie. The ecology of this plant may have been linked with the massive bison herds that once thrashed the prairie during their migrations and created such open places in the past. Today the largest populations of rayless goldenweed occur on a facility of the U.S. Army where tanks now accomplish a similar kind of disturbance.

Participating Institutions
  • 10/10/2020
  • Propagation Research

Successfully propagated from seed, with no special pretreatment needed (Nebraska Statewide Arboretum).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to Las Animas County, Colorado but quite common in certain edaphic situations (e-mail from G.K. Brown, Univ. Wyoming, to K. Maybury 8/20/96).

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Appears to be stable, particularly within the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site where vehicle activity creates effective disturbance of shortgrass prairie vegetation (Schulz and Shaw 1992).

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Occurs in a variety of grassland and shrubland plant communities on the U.S. Army Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in Las Animas County, Colorado (Shaw et al. 1989). Can be abundant within a population.

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Successfully propagated from seed, with no special pretreatment needed (Nebraska Statewide Arboretum).

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Clarification of taxonomic status. Monitoring of populations.


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Taxon Oonopsis foliosa var. monocephala
Authority (A. Nelson) Kartesz & Gandhi
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 2122
ITIS 529293
Common Names goldenweed | rayless goldenweed | Raven Ridge false goldenweed
Associated Scientific Names Oonopsis foliosa var. monocephala | Haplopappus fremontii ssp. monocephalus
Distribution Limited to southeastern Colorado in Las Animas County.
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S2

Sparsely vegetated clayey flats and along gullies and eroding toeslopes of limestone hills. Soils typically alkaline, clayey and calcareous, with moderate to high erosion potential. Occurs in a variety of semi-arid grassland and shrubland vegetation. Most often associated with shortgrass prairie, but also occurs in association with shrubs such as Bigelow sage (Artemisia bigelovii) and yucca (Yucca glauca). Elevation 4000-6000 ft.

Ecological Relationships

Most extant populations are associated with disturbed or open vegetation. Ecology may be tied to natural, periodic disturbance, perhaps caused historically by bison herds. Reproduces sexually by seed and asexually by rhizomes and root sprouts.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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