Montanoa Ovalifolia is roadside shrub that is noteworthy for its abundant, densely clustered heads and the extreme amount of variation in a number of its characters. The leaves in particular very considerably on the individual and populational levels. In one population in Santander, Colombia (SF 5622 A-H) all of the leaf shapes for the entire species were found so there does not appear to be any correlation with locality. The other variable characters, however, do appear to have clinal variation that is here recognized on the subspecific level.
Key to the Subspecies of Montanoa ovalifolia
1. Ray florets 10-15, 18-25 mm long; disc florets 90-[35; Colombia. lOa. subsp. ovalifolia. 1. Ray florets 8, 12-[5 mm long; disc florets 50-75; Ecuador and Peru. lOb. subsp. australis.