Packera paupercula (Michx.) W.A. Weber & A. Löve

balsam groundsel

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Of the New England groundsel (Packera) species, balsam groundsel is the most variable in where it grows. It inhabits woodlands, ridges, and river shore outcrops.

Habitat

Ridges or ledges, shores of rivers or lakes, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
  • the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
  • the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
Ray flower color
  • NA
  • yellow
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
30–60 mm
Disk flower number
  • 21-50
  • more than 50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract color
    • the bracts are colored, or at least tinged with, pink, red or purple
    • the bracts are not colored or tinged with pink, red or purple
    Bract cycle number
    there is one main cycle of bracts
    Bract outer side hair type
    the bracts are not hairy on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract texture
    the bracts have a similar texture to a leaf
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    • 21-50
    • more than 50
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk width
    5–12 mm
    Flower head number
    • each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    • each flowering stem has only one to three flower heads on it
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head platform surface
    NA
    Flower head profile
    the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    Flower type in flower heads
    • the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
    • the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
    Height of flower head base
    4–7 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    13–21
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary has five or more corners in cross-section
    Ovary hair type
    • the ovary has hairs on it, but the hairs have no glands
    • the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    • the ovary has hairs on it
    • the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is oblong (roughly rectangular but rounded at the ends)
    Peduncle hair type
    NA
    Peduncle hairs
    the peduncles have no hairs
    Ray flower color
    • NA
    • yellow
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have carpels or stamens, but not both
    Ray flowers
    • 0
    • 11-15
    • 6-10
    Ray length
    5–10 mm
    Reproductive system
    some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Scale tip
    NA
    Style branches
    the style branch is wider at the tip and has a flattened end, or the style branches are wider at the tips and have flattened ends
  • Fruits or seeds
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    1–2 mm
    Ovary width in developed fruit
    0.5–0.7 mm
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are white or off-white
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs are hooked or barbed
    Seed hair tuft length
    3.5–4.5 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    the pappus hairs are slender
    Seed tuft scale number
    0
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of very fine hairs or bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Leaf blade glands
    the leaf blades have no glandular (translucent) dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Horizontal rooting stem
    • there are no stolons
    • there are stolons on some plants
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a caudex (the root mass is firm and hardened at the top)
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    30–60 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade width
    10–20 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    At least 0 mm
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    At least 0
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • ridges or ledges
    • shores of rivers or lakes
    • woodlands
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem internode hair type
    • at least some of the hairs on the stem are tangled, matted or woolly
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem internode hairs
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
extremely rare to rare (S-rank: S1S2), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
New Hampshire
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Packera obovata:
plants with stolons, forming colonies, and the leaf blade decurrent on the stalk (vs. P. paupercula, which are plants without stolons and the leaf blade not decurrent on the stalk or only scarcely so).

Synonyms

  • Senecio balsamitae Muhl. ex Willd.
  • Senecio gaspensis Greenm.
  • Senecio pauperculus Michx.
  • Senecio pauperculus Michx. var. balsamitae (Muhl. ex Willd.) Fern.
  • Senecio pauperculus Michx. var. praelongus (Greenm.) House

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Packera

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

3.  Packera paupercula (Michx.) W.A. Weber & A. Löve N

balsam groundsel. Senecio balsamitae Muhl. ex Willd.; S. gaspensis Greenm.; S. pauperculus Michx.; S. pauperculus Michx. var. balsamitae (Muhl. ex Willd.) Fern.; S. pauperculus Michx. var. praelongus (Greenm.) House • CT, MA, ME, NH, VT; also reported from RI by George (1992), but specimens are unknown. River shore outcrops and gravels, woodlands, ridges.