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Packera cardamine
(Heartleaf groundsel)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family: Asteraceae

Scientific Name: Packera cardamine (Greene) W.A. Weber & A. Love

Synonyms: Senecio cardamine Greene

Vernacular Name: Heartleaf groundsel

R-E-D Code: 2-1-2

Description: Perennial herb; herbage glabrous; stems 2-5 dm tall; leaves mostly basal, heart-shaped to nearly round, petiolate, semisucculent, blades 2-5 cm long and across; upper stem leaves few, sessile, clasping, longer than wide; inflorescence of 1-3 flower heads teminating stems; heads about 1 cm high; phyllaries narrow, in a single series; ray flowers 8-10 per head, about 5 mm long, yellow; disk flowers yellow, numerous; pappus of numerous white capillary bristles; achenes glabrous. Flowers late April to August.

Similar Species: This species should not be confused with any other Packera. Its broadly rounded basal leaf blades are distinctive.


Distribution: New Mexico, Catron County, Mogollon Mountains; adjacent Arizona, White Mountains.

Habitat: Steep slopes and forest understory in upper montane coniferous forest; 2,440-3,050 m (8,000-10,000 ft).

Remarks: An endemic to climax spruce-fir forest in the high mountains of southwestern New Mexico and adjacent Arizona. Populations are small and sporadic, but not infrequent in suitable habitat. The dark green, heart-shaped, semisucculent leaves resemble Cardamine and inspired the specific epithet of this species' name.

Conservation Considerations: Many populations of this species burned in the 2012 Whitewater-Baldy Fire. Although plants survived the fire, long-term persistence is questionable in a completely altered habitat.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Barkley, T.M. 1978. Senecio. In: North American flora, series 2. 10:50-139.

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Weber, W.A. and Àskell Löve. 1981. New combinations in the genus Packera (Asteraceae). Phytologia 49:44-50.

Roth, D. 2016. Wildfire Impacts on Species of Concern Plants in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico. Unpublished report prepared by EMNRD-Forestry Division, Santa Fe, NM for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Region 2, Albuquerque, NM. 48 pp.

Information Compiled By: Robert Sivinski, 1999; updated 2016

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Packera cardamineSoCSoCSen..S2G3


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council