Centaurea montana

(Mountain Bluet)

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Centaurea montana, Breckenridge, Summit Co. 3553/3575

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Centaurea montana, Breckenridge, Summit Co. 3513/3523

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Campanula uniflora, Hoosier Pass, Summit Co. 5562

Scientific Name Centaurea montana USDA PLANTS Symbol CEMO
Common Name Mountain Bluet, Mountain Cornflower ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 36966
Family Asteraceae (Sunflower) SEINet
Reference
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Description Life zones and habitat: Up to subalpine; dry to moist soils along roadsides, disturbed areas and meadows; escaped from cultivation.
Plant: Erect, leafy perennial 10 to 28 inches tall; one to several hairy stems.
Leaves: Alternate, ovate to oblong or lanceolate, 2-3/4 to 7 inches long, margins entire or somewhat toothed; lower leaves winged-petiolate, mid and upper leaves sessile.
Inflorescence: Showy, large usually solitary heads with 35 to 60+ disc florets, the outer 10 to 20 are sterile with long (1 to 1-3/4 inches long), blue corollas that are deeply lobed; 25 to 40+ center florets with purple corollas and dark blue-purple anthers; no ray florets; overlapping, ovate to lanceolate, greenish phyllaries with ragged brown to black margins.
Bloom Period: July to September.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield, Univ. of Alaska and Flora of North America.
Note: None of the literature shows the plant in the central Colorado mountains, however, the plant below was found in the wild at 9500 ft. in Summit County, likely a garden escapee.
BONAP Distribution Map
Colorado Status:
Introduced

© Tom Lebsack 2022

Banner photo: Ten Mile Range and Rhodiola integrifolia (King’s Crown) in Summit County