Western groundsel is a fairly tall plant (eight to twenty-eight inches) with a single upright stem and large, smooth-edged leaves. Although daisy-like, groundsels appear flat-topped with several to numerous small, yellow heads borne near the tips of equal-height branches.
Columbia goldenweed is one of the last blooming wildflowers in our foothills, followed only by snow buckwheat, rabbitbrush, and tall buckwheat.
The microseris resembles a dandelion, with a leafless stem supporting a single head of bright-yellow ray flowers. The plant can reach of height of two to twelve inches. The basal cluster of leaves, narrow and strap-like with wavy edges, are sparsely to densely covered with hairs.
Thread-leaf fleabane daisy has daisy-like flowers with white, pink or purple petals, and a large yellow center. Growing four to twenty inches tall, the stems are hairy and branch extensively, forming large symmetrical clumps. Individual stems may support one to several flower heads.
Bearded hawksbeard closely resembles a dandelion, except that it grows up to two feet tall with multiple heads on one or two branched stems. The leaves grow from the base and look like an animal has taken bites out of the edges. The edges look viciously sharp, but they are not.
Dusty maidens have a highly branched stem up to two feet tall with a compact cluster of one to five inch long leaves at the base. The branches are tipped with white or tan flowers that look like pompoms. These flower heads are made up of tubular white flowers in a dense round cluster.
Diffuse knapweed grows from long taproots into a bush up to two feet tall with a single upright stem sprouting many branches. The stems have fine, short hairs, giving the plant a gray appearance. The leaves are small, alternately arranged, and finely divided.
Russian knapweed grows up to three feet tall with considerably branched stems. Leaves up to six inches long and one and a half inches wide grow near the base of the plant and become smaller toward the top. The small half-inch flower heads on the branch tips may be white, pink, or lavender-blue.
Yarrow has one to several tall upright stems up to three feet tall, narrow fern-like leaves clustered at the base but found on the stem as well, and flat umbrella-shaped clusters of dense white flowers. One of its main characteristics is the odor of the crushed leaves--a strong aromatic herb rather like rosemary and sage.
Three-tip sagebrush is a rounded, freely branching, evergreen shrub. Its leaves are gray-green, long, and deeply cleft into three lobes. The stems are a smooth pale gray. Three-tip sagebrush carries the distinctive sage fragrance, especially when wet. The flowers are green and inconspicuous.