E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Adenocaulon bicolor Hook.
pathfinder (American trailplant)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jeanne Ross  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13075)

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Distribution of Adenocaulon bicolor
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from fibrous roots; stems slender, erect, 0.3-1.0 m tall, solitary, branched above, white-woolly on lower part, with stalked glands on upper part.
Mostly basal, large and thin, 10-30 cm long, 3-15 cm wide, long-stalked, broadly triangular to heart-shaped, green and essentially glabrous above, white-woolly below; margins smooth to coarsely toothed; stem leaves similar to basal, few, alternate.
Heads discoid, small, several to numerous, in a branched, nearly naked, glandular inflorescence; rays lacking; disk flowers whitish, tubular, only the outer 3-7 fertile; involucres 2-3.5 mm tall, the bracts green, glabrous, equal in size, pointing down when mature and eventually deciduous.
Club-shaped achenes, 5-8 mm long, with stalked glands on upper portion; pappus lacking.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic forests in the lowland and montane zones; common in S BC; E to AB, S to ID, MT and N CA, disjunct in N MI.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Adenocaulon bicolor

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 747 1855
Slope Gradient (%) 0 21 110
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 199 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(66), CWH(329), ESSF(22), ICH(726), IDF(72), MH(1), MS(33), PP(1), SBPS(1), SBS(8)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, sub montane to montane, North American forb distributed in the Pacific (most frequently). Cordilleran, and Central regions. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude and elevation. Sporadic in coniferous forests, scattered in broad-leaved forests on water-shedding sites. Often associated with Polystichum munitum and Tiarella trifoliata. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References