2. Psilocarphus elatior (A. Gray) A. Gray in A. Gray et al., Syn. Fl. N. Amer. ed. 2. 1: 448. 1886.
Tall or meadow woollyheads
Psilocarphus oregonus Nuttall var. elatior A. Gray, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 8: 652. 1873
Plants greenish gray to silvery, ± sericeous. Stems 1(–3), ± erect; proximal internode lengths mostly 0.5–1.5(–2) times leaf lengths. Capitular leaves ± erect, appressed to heads, mostly oblanceolate to nearly linear, widest in distal 1/3, longest mostly 17–35 mm, lengths mostly 4.5–9 times widths, 2.5–5 times head heights. Heads ± spheric, largest 6–8 mm. Receptacles unlobed. Pistillate paleae collectively ± hidden by indument, longest 2.8–3.8 mm (lengths 1.5–3 times longest diams.; wings supramedian). Staminate corollas 1.3–1.9 mm, lobes 5. Cypselae ± cylindric, terete, 0.9–1.7 mm.
Flowering and fruiting mid May–mid Aug. Mainly coastal or montane, relatively dry or seasonally flooded, wooded, grassy, or barren slopes, flats, often disturbed sites (roadsides, trails, drainages), rarely near vernal pools; 0–1700 m; B.C.; Calif., Idaho, Mont., Oreg., Wash.
Psilocarphus elatior occurs west of the Cascade Range from California to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and in scattered areas eastward (northwestern Montana, mountains surrounding the border area common to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho). Reports of P. elatior from Alberta and Saskatchewan were based on relatively erect forms of P. brevissimus var. brevissimus. Psilocarphus elatior has been of conservation concern in Canada (J. M. Illingworth and G. W. Douglas 1994).
Where sympatric, Psilocarphus elatior tends to inhabit relatively dry or seasonally flooded sites in more mesic coastal or montane climates and P. brevissimus var. brevissimus occurs mainly in wetter, seasonally inundated sites in semiarid climates. Some specimens appear to be intermediate; further study may show the two taxa to be better treated as varietally distinct. See also under P. brevissimus var. multiflorus.