Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
R. W. Smith
Dry open sandy ground, including oak and jack pine savannas, prairies, fields, rarely dunes, and associated roadsides and railroads; thin soil on high rock mountains in the western Upper Peninsula.
This is another variable species, but well named for its large showy inflorescences late in the season. In the southern part of the Lower Peninsula and apparently also in the western Upper Peninsula is var. speciosa, with basal leaves running 3–8 cm broad. Less robust plants, with fewer and narrower leaves, blooming earlier, are var. jejunifolia (E. S. Steele) Cronquist; these plants range south through the jack pine plains from Cheboygan Co., whence they were first described, into the range of var. speciosa, and also locally in the Upper Peninsula. The separation of varieties is not always clear, especially since the basal leaves often wither by flowering time.
Rarely, a plant of S. juncea has branches of the inflorescence not one-sided, and such plants are likely to run here in the key because of their larger lower leaves, glabrous or glabrate stems, and small heads. In S. juncea, at least the lower leaves are ± strongly toothed, and the inflorescence is predominantly terminal (even vase-like).