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

Saussurea americana D.C. Eaton
American sawwort (American saw-wort)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10424)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Saussurea americana
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a fibrous root; stems erect, solitary, branched above, sparsely woolly-hairy when young, 0.3-2 m tall.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves alternate, egg-shaped to triangular or lanceolate, the bases squared off or wedge- or heart-shaped, stalked, the blades 5-15 cm long, 1-7 cm wide, strongly toothed, sparsely woolly-hairy when young, persistently so on the lower surfaces, upper leaves unstalked or with very short stalks.
Heads discoid, solitary at ends of branches in a clustered inflorescence; involucres 10-14 mm tall; involucral bracts in 3-4 series, the margins and tips dark pigmented, the outer bracts egg-shaped, shorter than the inner, long-hairy; disk flowers pale purple or rarely white, 8-21 (typically 13); receptacles papery.
Achenes oblong, nerved, 4-6 mm, glabrous; pappus of brownish, feathery bristles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist lush meadows and avalanche tracks in the montane and subalpine zones; frequent, but scattered, in and W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in W BC; N to AK and YT, E to AB and S to ID, WA and NE OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Saussurea americana

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) 1136 1279 1422
Slope Gradient (%) 37 43 50
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
166 177 190
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 3 3
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: MH(1), SBS(1)


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References