Biennials or perennials, 20-40+ cm; taprooted (caudices ascending to erect, weakly branched). Stems 1 or 2-5, loosely clustered, usually glabrous or glabrescent, sometimes sparsely tomentose throughout, axils (basal leaves) tomentose. Basal leaves (and proximal cauline) petiolate; blades obovate, oblanceolate, spatulate, or lyrate to sublyrate (± pinnately lobed, lateral lobes 3-6 pairs, smaller than terminal lobes), 40-80+ × 10-30+ mm, bases tapering, ultimate margins incised to dentate. Cauline leaves gradually reduced (sessile). Heads 10-30+ in open, corymbiform or subumbelliform arrays. Peduncles conspicuously bracteate, glabrous or tomentose. Calyculi conspicuous. Phyllaries 13-21, green (tips often yellow), 4-9+ mm, glabrous or sparsely tomentose (at least proximally). Ray florets 8-13; corolla laminae 7-10 mm. Disc florets 40-50+; corolla tubes 4-5 mm, limbs 3-4 mm. Cypselae 2-3 mm, glabrous or hirtellous on ribs; pappi 5-6 mm. 2n = 46, 92.
Flowering early May-mid Jul. Dry rocky or sandy soils in sagebrush, woodlands, and subalpine areas; 1200-2900 m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Nev., N.Mex., Utah, Wyo.
Packera multilobata is abundant and widespread west of the Continental Divide. Both morphology and habitat vary. In colder parts of its range, plants are shorter, caudices are better developed with clustered stems, and leaf lobes are larger. In desert-like habitats, basal leaves are narrower and more finely lobed, the tomentum is often persistent, and stems are usually single.
Springer et al. 2008
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Biennial or perennial, 20-40+ cm tall; stems solitary or 2-5, often purplish, glabrous or nearly so, sometimes sparsely tomentose, often tomentose in the axils of basal leaves; caudex short, branched; taprooted. Leaves: Basal and cauline, alternate, obovate, oblanceolate, spatulate, pinnately lobed to deeply lyrate-pinnatifid, 4-11 cm long, 0.3-3.5 cm wide, reduced upward, glabrous or nearly so, often purplish below, margins of the segments incised to dentate; basal and lower cauline blades petiolate, upper cauline blades sessile. Flowers: Heads 3-15 in corymb-like arrays; bractlets subtending the involucre absent; involucre campanulate, 4-7 mm long and as wide; phyllaries 13-21 in 1-2 series, green, often with purplish or reddish tips; ray flowers 8-13, 4-8 mm long, yellow; disk flowers mostly 50-65, 4-7.5 mm long, yellow; flowers May-August. Fruits: Achene, 2-3.5 mm long, glabrous or hirsute on the ribs; pappus of numerous white bristles. Ecology: Mountains, deserts, woodlands, coniferous forests; 1100- 3300 m (3500-11000 ft); Apache, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, and Yuma counties; western U.S. Distribution: Western US; CA to WY, CO, and NM. Notes: Packera quercetorum (Oak Creek ragwort) [=Senecio quercertorum] is very similar to P. multilobata, distinguished primarily by its larger stature (60-100+ cm). It is found infrequently in open habitats, scrub-oak woodlands, and pinyon-pine forests up to 2200 m (7200 ft). Packera franciscana (San Francisco Peaks ragwort, San Francisco groundsel) [=Senecio franciscanus] is a dwarf alpine perennial, 3-7 cm tall; stems solitary, sparsely woolly- or cobwebby-tomentose; blades are lyrate or sublyrate, sometimes ovate or orbiculate; heads are solitary or 2-6. It is restricted to the alpine and subalpine slopes of the San Francisco Peaks. A decoction of lobeleaf groundsel is used by the Navajo for menstrual pain. The Yavapai inhale a decoction of the stem for colds and for sore noses. Synonyms: Senecio lynceus, Senecio lynceus var. leucoreus, Senecio multilobatus, Senecio stygius, Senecio thornberi, Senecio uintahensis