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Lorandersonia microcephala
(Small-headed goldenweed)

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



Family: Asteraceae

Scientific Name: Lorandersonia microcephala (Cronquist) Urbatsch, R.P. Roberts & Neubig

Synonyms: Haplopappus microcephalus Cronquist; Tonestus microcephalus (Cronquist) Nesom & Morgan; Ericameria microcephala (Cronquist) Kartesz & Gandhi

Vernacular Name: Small-headed goldenweed

R-E-D Code: 3-1-3

Description: Perennial; stems several, to about 5 cm tall, suffrutescent and mat forming; leaves numerous, 2-4 cm long, to 3.5 mm wide, oblanceolate, tips acute, tapering to the base, 3-nerved, entire or with an occasional minute tooth, stem leaves somewhat smaller than the basal ones; heads several to many in a condensed corymb; phyllaries chartaceous, in several series, the outer one caudate-attenuate, the inner ones acute or acuminate; disk flowers yellow, fertile, rays inconspicuous; pappus of numerous white capillary bristles. Flowers June to July.

Similar Species: Petradoria pumila (syn. Solidago petradoria) bears a strong habital resemblance to Lorandersonia microcephala. The Petradoria is distinguished by its obviously punctate leaves, vertically aligned phyllaries, and sterile disk flowers.


Distribution: New Mexico, eastern Rio Arriba and western Taos counties.

Habitat: Granitic rock crevices in open ponderosa pine forests; 2,440-2,600 m (8,000-8,500 ft).

Remarks: This species is locally abundant within its limited range between Tres Piedres and Petaca, New Mexico.

Conservation Considerations: The bare, rock face habitats of this species offer a great deal of protection from human and forest fire impacts.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Cronquist, A. 1951. A new Haplopappus from New Mexico. Madroño 11:186-187.

Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Second edition. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

Lightfoot, K. and R. Sivinski. 1992. Status report on Tonestus microcephalus. For: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, Albuquerque.

Nesom, G.L. and D.R. Morgan. 1990. Reinstatement of Tonestus (Asteraceae: Astereae). Phytologia 68:174-180.

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

Urbatsch, L.E., R.P. Roberts and K.M. Neubig. 2005. Cuniculotinus and Lorandersonia, two new genera of Asteraceae: Astereae and new combinations in Chrysothamnus. Sida 21(3):1615-1632.

Information Compiled By: Ken Heil, Joey Herring, 1999, last updated 2008

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Lorandersonia microcephalaSoCSoCSen..S2G2


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