Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from 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.


Biennial, perennial herb from taproot bearing 1–several caudices
Stems erect
Leaves simple to 2-pinnately dissected; basal and alternate, reduced upward, gland-dotted
Inflorescence: heads radiate or discoid, in few–many-headed panicles; involucre obconic to widely bell-shaped; phyllaries in 2–3 series, ± equal, scarious-margined; receptacle flat or rounded, generally naked
Ray flowers 0 (in CA) or 8; ligules white
Disk flowers 10–many; corollas yellow, white, or reddish purple, tube slender, throat abruptly enlarged, lobes triangular, reflexed; style branches obtuse
Fruit obpyramidal, 4-angled; pappus 0 or of many thin, transparent, linear-oblong to ovate, obtuse scales
Species in genus: 10 species: North America
Etymology: (Greek: membranous pappus)
Reference: [Turner 1956 Rhodora 58:163–186, 208–242, 250–269, 295–308]

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