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ASTERACEAE

SUNFLOWER FAMILY

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.

LESSINGIA

Meredith A. Lane

Annual, perennial herb, subshrubs, decumbent to erect, taprooted
Stems simple or branched from base or above
Leaves simple, entire to pinnately lobed; basal petioled, ovate to spoon-shaped; cauline reduced upward, sessile, (ob)lanceolate to (ob)ovate
Inflorescence: heads radiate or discoid, terminal, solitary or clustered; involucres hemispheric, bell-shaped, obconic, or cylindric; phyllaries in 4–9 series, thin to tough but flexible, tips green or tinged purplish; receptacle concave, naked, shallowly pitted
Ray flowers present or 0, fertile or sterile; corollas yellow or white to purple
Disk flowers generally fertile (except L. occidentalis); corollas yellow, violet, purple, pink, or white, funnel-shaped to cylindric, marginal ones in rayless heads often enlarged and bilateral, deeply lobed on inner side, lobes spreading from head center; style appendages flat, triangular, awl-shaped, or cusped
Fruit obconic, mottled purple-brown; hairs dense, appressed, silky; pappus 0 in ray flowers, in disk flowers of many bristles, these free or fused at base, or fused throughout into awns, white, tan, or red-brown
Species in genus: 14 species: CA; NV, AZ, n Baja CA
Etymology: (C.F. Lessing, 1809–1862, German specialist in Asteraceae)
Incl CA sp. previously treated in Benitoa and Corethrogyne.

Native

L. lemmonii A. Gray

Annual; herbage grayish tomentose, sometimes becoming glabrous with age
Stems decumbent or erect, 0.3–4 dm
Leaves: basal deciduous, < 6 cm, oblanceolate or long-tapered obovate, entire to pinnately lobed; cauline < 2 cm, awl-shaped or linear to obovate, entire or tip with few teeth
Inflorescence: heads discoid, solitary, terminal; involucres 4–6 mm, narrowly obconic to bell-shaped; phyllaries oblong, obtuse or acute, puberulent or tomentose, margins with large sessile glands
Ray flowers 0
Disk flowers 10–25; corollas funnel-shaped to tubular, marginal corollas funnel-shaped in small heads, yellow, with or without white band in throat; style branches 1–2 mm, appendages 0.7–1.3 mm, with long, abrupt point
Fruit 1.5–3.5 mm; pappus bristles many, free to base, white or tannish white
Chromosomes: 2n=10
Ecology: Sandy soils
Elevation: 200–1850 m.
Bioregional distribution: Transverse Ranges, White and Inyo Mountains, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: w Nevada, nw Arizona
Varieties intergrade.

Native

var. lemmonii

Herbage tomentose, partly glabrous with age
Leaves: cauline fewer above, not clasping base of involucre
Inflorescence: phyllaries puberulent
Ecology: Dry, sandy soil
Elevation: < 1900 m.
Bioregional distribution: Transverse Ranges, White and Inyo Mountains, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: nw Arizona
Flowering time: May–Oct
Synonyms: L. germanorum Cham. var. l. (A. Gray) J.T. Howell

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