Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Pathfinder - Adenocaulon bicolor

Status; Native.[E-flora]

General: 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. [IFBC-E-flora] "Trail plant is a slender, single-stemmed perennial herb up to about three feet tall. The leaves are large, arrow-shaped, and arise from near the base of the plant." [Vizgirdas WPSN]
Leaves: 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. [IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: 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. [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: Club-shaped achenes, 5-8 mm long, with stalked glands on upper portion; pappus lacking. [IFBC-E-flora]

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." [IFBC-E-flora]

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." [IPBC][E-flora]

Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Use of Related Sp.

"This genus consists of five (Bittmann, 1990a, b; Bremer, 1994) species variously distributed in western North America, Chile, and eastern Asia (Mabberley, 1987; Bittmann, 1990a, b). Its distribution is quite broad for a genus of such small size, and its morphology makes tribal (and subtribal) placement uncertain (Hansen, 1991). Even the possession of cortical vascular bundles (Karrfalt, 1975) is unusual (although not unique) within the family. Recent macromolecular sequence investigations with the ndhF gene (Kim and Jansen, 1995b), however, reveal Adenocaulon to belong in Mutisieae near Mutisia (with some uncertainty; see Fig. 2-7). The only flavonoid chemistry of which we are aware is our finding (Bohm, unpubl.) of kaempferol and quercetin 3-0-mono- and 3-0-diglycosides in A. bicolor." [Bohm FSF] The genus Adenocaulon is distributed in "W NA, Mexico, Hawaii, Guatemala, Chile, Arg, Himalayas, E Asia" [Werger PGC]

Selenium Accumulator: "Among the 14 plant species in Enshi [China], Adenocaulon himalaicum has the highest contents of Se from 299 to 2,278 (mean 760) mg/kg DW in the leaf, from 268 to 1,612 (mean 580) mg/kg DW in the stem, from 227 to 8,391 (mean 1,744) mg/kg DW in the root, and therefore was identified as a secondary Se-accumulating plant. Furthermore, the SeCys2 [Selenocystine] fraction was predominant in the tissues with a proportion of 70–98 %, which is quite different from other Se-accumulating plants, e.g., garlic, onion, and broccoli." [Yuan rt al.,2012] "Selenium speciation analysis indicated that SeCys2, SeMeCys, and SeMet accounted for 70–98, 7–19, and 3–11 %, respectively, of the total Se accumulated in Adenocaulon himalaicum leaves.... A similar pattern occurred in the stem and the root tissues. The proportion of SeCys2 in Adenocaulon himalaicum increases with increasing the accumulation of total Se in the plant tissues." [Yin PRBF]

Aphid Host Plant


  1. [E-flora], Accessed July 24, 2017
  2. [EWW]Gunther, Erna 1973 Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle. University of Washington Press. Revised edition (p. 48)
  3. [READ] Read, Bernard Emms (editor). 1946. Famine foods listed in the Chiu huang pen ts'ao [of Ting Wang Chou]: giving their identity, nutritional values and notes on their preparation. Shanghai, China: Henry Lester Insitute of Medical Research. 93pp. Excerpt Taken From Famine Food - NewCrop, Purdue University,, Compiled by Robert Freedman
  4. Yuan rt al.,2012 - Selenium in Plants and Soils, and Selenosis in Enshi, China: Implications for Selenium Biofortification, Linxi Yuan, Xuebin Yin, Yuanyuan Zhu, Fei Li, Yang Huang, Ying Liu and Zhiqing Lin, Phytoremediation and Biofortification, SpringerBriefs in Green Chemistry for Sustainability, DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1439-7_2,  The Author(s) 2012

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