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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.



Kenton L. Chambers

Annual, perennial herb, generally taprooted; mealy, hairs drying as minute white scales; sap milky. Leaf: basal and cauline, generally linear to lanceolate or oblanceolate, generally variably entire to pinnately lobed. Inflorescence: heads 1 on long peduncle, liguliflorous, ± nodding in bud; involucre generally fusiform to spheric; phyllaries in 2–several series, outer overlapping, inner often ± black-hairy; receptacle flat to low-convex, epaleate, pitted. Flower: 5–many; ligules ± equaling involucre in annual species to much exceeding involucre in per species, white, yellow, or orange, abaxially often ± red or purple, readily withering. Fruit: cylindric to fusiform, generally square-topped, not beaked; ribs ± 10, ± scabrous (outer fruit hairy in some); pappus of generally 5–many ± lanceolate, bristle-tipped scales.
14 species: western North America, South America, New Zealand, Australia. (Greek: small chicory) [Chambers 2006 FNANM 19:338–346] Hybridization common. Self-pollinating (annual) or self-sterile and ± complex (perennial herb).

Key to Microseris

1. Perennial herb; stem simple or branched, scapose or ± leafy; ligules much exceeding involucre; pappus parts often > 5 (subg. Scorzonella)

2. Plant from rhizome-like caudex; pappus bristles 24–48, ± brown, barbed, basal scales 0; leaves all basal; sphagnum bogs, Outer North Coast Ranges ..... M. borealis

2' Plant taprooted; pappus bristles 5–30, each expanded at base into a small to large scale; leaves generally basal to cauline; various habitats

3. Pappus scales 15–30, silvery; bristles plumose; widespread ..... M. nutans

3' Pappus scales 5–24, often dull white or ± brown, bristles ± smooth or barbed to ± plumose

4. Pappus scales 4–10 mm; bristles barbed to ± plumose

5. Pappus scales 5–10, ± dull yellow-brown; stem branched or simple, proximally leafy to mid-stem; outer phyllary tips recurved; generally Great Central Valley, adjacent foothills ..... M. sylvatica

5' Pappus scales 9–19, silvery to dull white; stem simple, leafy proximally; phyllary tips erect; n Klamath Ranges and adjacent OR, rare ..... M. laciniata subsp. detlingii

4' Pappus scales 0.5–4 mm, bristles ± smooth to barbed

6. Outer phyllaries often purple-spotted, lance-ovate to broadly ovate, 2.5–9 mm wide, generally glabrous ..... M. laciniata subsp. laciniata

6' Outer phyllaries rarely purple-spotted, linear to ± deltate or lanceolate, 0.5–2.5 mm wide, often mealy, sometimes ± black-hairy

7. Pappus scales 8–24, bristles white, barbed — Klamath Ranges and adjacent OR ..... M. laciniata subsp. siskiyouensis

7' Pappus scales 5–10, bristles white, smooth or bristles ± brown, barbed

8. Pappus scales 0.5–2.5 mm, bristles white, smooth; Northwestern California ..... M. laciniata subsp. leptosepala

8' Pappus scales 2–4 mm, bristles ± brown, barbed; Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area ..... M. paludosa

1' Annual; stem scapose; ligules ± equaling involucre; pappus parts < 6 (subg. Microseris)

9. Fruit generally < 3 mm

10. Fruit widest near middle, tapered to base and (slightly) to tip; pappus scales 1–4 mm; North Coast, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area ..... M. bigelovii (2)

10' Fruit widest at tip, tapered to base; pappus scales 0.2–2.5 mm; widespread ..... M. elegans

9' Fruit generally > 3 mm

11. Pappus scales <= 1 mm ..... M. douglasii subsp. tenella

11' Pappus scales averaging 1.5 mm or longer

12. Pappus scales 3.5–11 mm, lance-linear, barely inrolled, midrib > 1/5 scale width ..... M. acuminata

12' Pappus scales <= 7 mm (if lance-linear midrib < 1/5 scale width)

13. Pappus scales curved only at base, midrib linear, thicker at base; North Coast, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area ..... M. bigelovii (2)

13' Pappus scales becoming ± curved throughout, midrib evenly tapered from thick base

14. Pappus scales 5, barely or not pigmented, becoming slightly inrolled; Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, e Central Western California, South Coast (rare) ..... M. campestris

14' Pappus scales 5 or fewer, darkly to not pigmented, becoming strongly inrolled ..... M. douglasii

15. Pappus scales generally < fruit (if > fruit, then fruit > 4.5 mm); widespread ..... subsp. douglasii

15' Pappus scales >= fruit; fruit <= 4.5 mm; South Coast, Peninsular Ranges, s Channel Islands ..... subsp. platycarpha


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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