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Limestone Hawksbeard, Smallflower Hawksbeard - Crepis intermedia


Family: Asteraceae Aster family Genus Common Name: Hawksbeard Native Status: Native
Crepis intermedia - Limestone Hawksbeard, Smallflower Hawksbeard. This was one of the more difficult identifications I've done, and even now, after hours of research, I'm not certain I've got this correct as Crepis intermedia. I pretty quickly identified the plant in my photos and memory as a member of the Crepis genus, using my copy of Idaho Mountain Wildflowers and a quick search on the Internet to get a closer blossom photo. But there are 25 species of Crepis found in the United States, with nine of them found in Idaho, where I photographed this plant. Unfortunately, most of the species of Crepis are very similar in appearance, especially to the untrained, unacquainted eye such as mine.

Some species had a characteristic that quickly eliminated it from my short-list (or not-so-short list) of nine species - C. bakerii has reddish stems, for example. So, armed with understanding of variances within a species, it came down to comparing a lot of photos on the Internet with mine - most from CalPhoto - and a couple of key characteristis leaf shape, and hair configuration. Some species were eliminated from contention because the shape of the leaf lobes weren't deep enough, such as that on C. occidentalis. Combining those features with another key differentiator glandular hairs finally brought me to the Crepis intermedia decision. And since there are other species with glandular hairs, and the hairs on C. intermedia are not always glandular, that leaves me with one of my lower confidence levels in this being an accurate identification. Caveat emptor!

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Distribution of Crepis intermedia in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 29 Nov 2014). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
While Hawksbeard is a member of the Asteraceae family, its blossoms consist of only liguliflorous (strap-shaped) ray florets. Each ray floret is fertile. If you look closely at the unopened blossom on the left, you can see the glandular hairs on the phyllaries. Some of these hairs are black; both are identifying characteristics for the specific Crepis species.
Crepis intermedia

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Hawksbeard pollenator in action. Crepis intermedia will have several branches of 1 or 2 stems rising from the root, each branch terminating with a cluster of yellow blossom heads.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Crepis intermedia

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
I didn't really get adequate photographs of the stem and leaves of the plant, but this photo shows the glandular hairs on the stem.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Crepis intermedia

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves of Crepis intermedia (and a couple other Crepis species) are long and deeply lobed, with the basal leaves being much larger than the cauline (stem) leaves. The lobes are more or less triangular in shape
Click on the photo for a larger image
Crepis intermedia

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2014
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer