Showy townsendia — Townesendia florifer — is a member of the sunflower or aster family — Compositae. This is the largest family of flowering plants in the world, the largest in North America and the largest in the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem.
This family is very important ecologically and includes many dominant steppe species, including sagebrush. Although sagebrush is wind-pollinated, most species in this family have brightly colored flower heads that are very important to native bees and other pollinators. More bee species are specialized on the Asteraceae than any other plant family in Oregon. They’re a premium option for restoration, gardens, and of course, biodiversity surveys like the Oregon Bee Atlas.
Also known as showy aster, this attractive species bears single heads of pastel lavender flowers on short, clustered flowering stems. It is fairly common in the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem and flowers in late spring through early summer.