Tonestus lyallii, also known as Lyall’s goldenweed or Lyall’s serpentweed, is native to western North America, particularly the central Rocky Mountains and interior mountain ranges of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The species is also found in the high elevation Ruby Mountains near Elko, Nevada, and the Coast Range in Siskiyou and Trinity counties of California (where these populations are over 700km distant from the rest of the range).
The Lyall of the specific epithet refers to the Scottish botanist, David Lyall. The genus name is an anagram of the name of a related genus in the Asteraceae, Stenotus. Also a North American genus, Stenotus was split, with several species moving into the newly-named Tonestus by Aven Nelson in a 1904 publication. From the names I’ve encountered, anagrams are infrequently used; it’s been my understanding when this device is used to create a name, it is for a species or group of species that closely resembles its previous one. Here’s a search for Stenotus on CalPhotos for comparison. Superficially, representatives from each genus will closely resemble one another, and it’s not until either extremely close observation (like Nelson) or diving into a taxonomic key that one may be guided to the characteristics that separate the groups.
Tonestus lyallii is a species of alpine and subalpine habitats, with a preference for gravelly soils or scree.