Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
For up-to-date information about California vascular plants, visit the Jepson eFlora.



David J. Keil, Family Editor and author, except as specified

Annual to tree
Leaves basal or cauline, alternate to whorled, simple to compound
Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, each resembling a flower, 1–many, generally arrayed in cymes, generally subtended by ± calyx-like involucre; flowers 1–many per head
Flowers bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, ± small, of several types; calyx 0 or modified into pappus of bristles, scales, or awns, which is generally persistent in fruit; corolla radial or bilateral (rarely 0), lobes generally (0)4–5; stamens 4–5, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, often appendaged at tips, bases, or both, filaments generally free, generally attached to corolla near throat; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, style 1, branches 2, generally hair-tufted at tip, stigmas 2, generally on inside of style branches
Fruit: achene, cylindric to ovoid, generally deciduous with pappus attached
Genera in family: ± 1300 genera, 21,000 species (largest family of dicots): worldwide. Largest family in CA. Also see tribal key to CA genera: Strother 1997 Madroño 44(1):1–28. See glossary p. 25 for illustrations of general family characteristics.


David J. Keil and Charles E. Turner

Perennial, 5–25 dm and ± tomentose in CA
Stems generally erect, leafy, branched, stout
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, 3–10 dm in CA, 1–2-pinnately lobed to divided, ± spiny
Inflorescence: heads discoid, large, 1–few per cyme; involucre ovoid or hemispheric; phyllaries in many overlapping series, generally ovate, leathery, entire, glabrous, tips generally triangular; receptacle flat, fleshy, bristly
Flowers many; corollas blue-purple in CA, tube very slender, throat widened abruptly, lobes linear; anther bases long-sagittate, tips oblong; style appendage long, cylindric, minutely papillate, tip barely notched
Fruit cylindric to obconic, ± 4-angled or ± compressed, glabrous, attached at base; pappus of many stiff bristles in several series, white or brownish, plumose below, fused and falling together
Species in genus: 10 species: Medit, Canary Islands
Etymology: (Greek: dog, from tooth-like phyllaries)


C. scolymus L.


Plants 8–20 dm, bushy
Leaves unarmed or minutely spiny; surfaces ± densely gray-tomentose
Inflorescence: involucre 6–15 cm, 7–15 cm diam (not including tips), little narrowed above; phyllaries sometimes notched, spines 0 or weak
Flowers: corollas 4–5 cm
Fruit 5–6 mm; pappus 3–5.5 cm
Chromosomes: 2n=34
Ecology: Disturbed places
Elevation: < 500 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: native to s Europe
Cult for edible phyllary bases and receptacles. Intergrades with (probably derived from) C. cardunculus.

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bioregional map for CYNARA%20scolymus being generated
YOU CAN HELP US make sure that our distributional information is correct and current. If you know that a plant occurs in a wild, reproducing state in a Jepson bioregion NOT highlighted on the map, please contact us with that information. Please realize that we cannot incorporate range extensions without access to a voucher specimen, which should (ultimately) be deposited in an herbarium. You can send the pressed, dried collection (with complete locality information indicated) to us (e-mail us for details) or refer us to an accessioned herbarium specimen. Non-occurrence of a plant in an indicated area is difficult to document, but we will especially value your input on those types of possible errors (see automatic conversion of distribution data to maps).

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Cynara scolymus
Retrieve dichotomous key for Cynara
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