Random Plant: Curlycup gumweed

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Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa, Asteraceae) photographed 08/04/2013 at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.

Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa, Asteraceae) is relatively common among grasslands, pastures, and disturbed areas in the Great Plains and Intermountain West. Although native to western North America, human activity has helped it spread across much of the continent. It easily establishes itself along roads and in fields, overgrazed pastures, and other areas disturbed by people.  The full sun, broken soil, and lack of competing plants make these locations ideal for this organism.

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Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa, Asteraceae) photographed 08/04/2013 at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.

Like other gumweeds this species exudes resin from it leaves and flowers that is sticky to the touch:

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Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa, Asteraceae) photographed 08/04/2013 at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.

It can be distinguished from other plants in its genus by its recurved phyllaries. These small, scale-like leaves surround the clusters of tiny yellow flowers:

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Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa, Asteraceae) photographed 08/04/2013 at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.

Although the bitter compounds produced by this plant make it unpalatable to livestock, it was historically of some medicinal use in Native American and folk remedies.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Culture, National Parks, Random Plant and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Random Plant: Curlycup gumweed

  1. Well done; I really enjoyed your photos and the information was superb.

    Like

  2. Mike Powell says:

    I love learning about new plants and your postings are always chock full of fascinating facts and fantastic photos. In this case, I can’t help but smile when I repeat the name “Curlycup gumweed.”

    Like

  3. Jeremy Sell says:

    Thanks for the comments. “Curlycup gumweed” is indeed amusing.

    Like

  4. They are actually quite interesting,,,,looks a bit alien. Lovely photos

    Like

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