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Arnica parryi

Arnica parryi (Arnica)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodland openings, meadows. Summer.
Shoulder of Lone Cone, August 8, 2011.

Arnica paryii

Arnica parryi (Arnica)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodland openings, meadows. Summer.
Upper Calico Trail, July 21, 2005.

This rayless Arnica generally grows at medium-to-high montane elevations, but it rarely reaches the alpine zone.  It does not usually grow as densely as Arnica cordifolia and Arnica mollis but it does grow in patches of many dozens of plants -- as well as in small scattered patches.  It grows to a very slim 20 inches tall, has nodding flower buds, erect or nodding flowers, clustered basal leaves, up to four pairs of shorter stem leaves, and phyllaries edged in purple.  (In the next photograph you can see the hairy, green phyllaries which form a green, cup-shaped enclosure below the golden flowerhead.)

This species was first collected in Clear Creek, Colorado in 1861 by eminent Colorado botanist, Charles Parry, and it was named for Parry in 1864 by Asa Gray.  (Click for more biographical information about Parry.

The word "Arnica" is considered by most botanical etymologists to be of unknown origin, but "arn" is Greek for "lamb" so perhaps the meaning is, "like lamb's skin," referring to the downy soft leaves.

Arnica paryii

Arnica paryii

Arnica parryi (Arnica)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodland openings, meadows. Summer.
Upper Calico Trail, July 21, 2005.

Flower heads consist of dozens of tightly packed tubular flowers, botanically called "disk flowers".

Fall leaf color is a very subtle charcoal to light gray-maroon.

Arnica rydbergii

Arnica rydbergii (Arnica)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Rocks. Summer.
Stony Pass, July 17, 2010.

Found isolated or in scattered patches, this bright yellow Arnica prefers subalpine and alpine rocky areas. Few pairs of widely spaced stem leaves can be slightly serrated.  Basal leaves are clustered and usually have petioles. As the photograph indicates, stems can start off at an angle and then gradually turn vertical.

The species name was given in 1899 by Edward Greene to honor Per Axel Rydberg, a giant in Colorado botany, and a major influence on Bill Weber. Rydberg wrote Flora of the Rocky Mountains and Adjacent Plains in 1917. (Click for more biographical information about Rydberg.)

Arnica rydbergii

Arnica rydbergii

Arnica rydbergii (Arnica)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Subalpine, alpine. Rocks. Summer.
Stony Pass, July 17, 2010.

Phyllaries of this species of Arnica are narrow, pointed, often red (anthocyanic) at the tip, lightly hairy, and in one row.  Ray flowers usually number 7-12.

The second photograph shows the bright white pappus hairs that are attached to the top of the white seed. Both the ray flowers and the disk flowers have these hairs, which, in the case of A. rydbergii, are barbed all along their length. The barbs can be seen with a 10x hand lens  --  a tool which opens up a huge world of wonder not visible to our unassisted eyes.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Arnica parryi

Range map for Arnica rydbergia