Alpine False Candytuft
[Smelowskia ovalis subsp. congesta (Rollins) auct.]
Plants sometimes canescent basally; caudex branched. Stems: several from base, unbranched or branched distally, 0.3-1.8 dm, trichomes simple, 0.3-0.6 mm, mixed with smaller, dendritic ones. Basal leaves: petiole 1-6 cm, ciliate, trichomes simple; blade obovate, ovate, suborbicular, or oblong in outline, (terminal segments obovate or oblong), 0.5-2.5 cm × 5-15 mm, (terminal segments 0.2-1 cm × 1.5-5 mm), margins pinnatisect or pinnatifid, apex obtuse or rounded. Cauline leaves shortly petiolate or sessile; blade similar to basal, smaller distally. Racemes elongated and dense in fruit. Fruiting pedicels suberect to ascending, (subappressed to rachis, often forming less than 40˚ angle), proximalmost sometimes bracteate, 3-10 mm, pubescent, trichomes simple (to 1 mm), mixed with smaller, dendritic ones. Flowers: sepals (persistent), 2-2.5 mm; petals usually white, rarely pinkish, spatulate to obovate, 3.5-4.5 × 1.5-2.5 mm, narrowed to claw, 0.5-1.5 mm, apex rounded; anthers oblong, 0.5-0.6 mm. Fruits suberect to ascending, ovoid to suboblong, terete or slightly flattened, 2-6 × 2-3 mm, base and apex obtuse; valves each with obscure midvein; ovules 4-8 per ovary; style 0.2-1 mm. Seeds 1-1.5 × 0.6-0.7 mm. Flowering Jul-Aug. Loose talus, mica shist, alpine rock slides, rocky moraines, rock crevices; 1500-3400 m; B.C.; Calif., Oreg., Wash. Smelowskia ovalis appears to be rare in Oregon, common at Mt. Lassen (Shasta County, California), and widespread at high elevations in Washington.