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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.



Annual or perennial herb, generally densely glandular, aromatic
Stems 1–several, generally simple below, ± branched above
Leaves generally opposite below, alternate above, generally linear to lanceolate, entire to slightly toothed
Inflorescence: heads generally radiate, generally peduncled, few–many; phyllaries generally 1–20, free, enclosing (and falling with) ray achenes; receptacle ± flat, generally glabrous; chaff scales generally ± fused, in ring between ray and disk flowers
Ray flowers generally 1–20, sometimes minute; ligules 2–3-lobed, generally yellow
Disk flowers 1–many, sometimes staminate; corollas yellow or maroon; anther tips triangular-ovate; style tips linear to oblong, acute, bristly
Fruit club-shaped or obovoid; ray achenes compressed, thickened, or 3-angled (1 angle toward center of head), ridged, sometimes beaked; pappus 0 or of short scales; disk achenes ± symmetric; pappus 0 or of 4–10 scales or bristles
Species in genus: 21 species: w North America, sw South America
Recent taxonomic note: *See revised taxonomy of Baldwin 1999 Novon 9:462–471.
Etymology: (Chilean name)
Reference: [Nelson & Nelson 1980 Brittonia 32:323–325]


M. elegans Lindl.


Annual 1–25 dm, strongly scented
Stems simple to branched throughout, often very leafy below, soft-hairy below, sparsely to densely stalked-glandular especially above; glands yellow to black
Leaves 2–20 cm, linear to widely lanceolate, entire or ± serrate, soft-hairy to bristly, ± glandular
Inflorescence: heads in open, rounded to ± flat-topped cymes (sometimes panicle-like); involucre 4.5–12 mm, bell-shaped to hemispheric; phyllaries ± bristly, glandular or not, tips flat; receptacle hairy; chaff scales strongly fused
Ray flowers 5–21; corolla tubes 0.5–1 mm, ligules (2.5)4–20 mm, fan-shaped, deeply lobed, yellow, base generally maroon-spotted
Disk flowers 25–50+, staminate; corollas 2.5–5 mm, yellow or maroon; anthers yellow or black
Fruit: ray achenes 2.5–5 mm, compressed side-to-side or ± 3-angled, glabrous, black or dark brown, sometimes mottled, beak 0, pappus 0; disk ovaries slender, much reduced, pappus 0
Ecology: Grassland, open forest
Elevation: < 3350 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (except Channel Islands), Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to n Oregon, Baja California
Highly variable; intermediates blur distinctions among extremes.


subsp. wheeleri (A. Gray) D.D. Keck

Plant 1–4.5 dm
Leaves: basal few (rosette poorly developed or 0); cauline linear, scattered, soft-hairy, slightly glandular or not
Inflorescence: involucre 4.5–5.5 mm; phyllary tips < body
Ray flowers 5–13; ligules (2.5)4–5(10) mm
Disk flowers 15–50+; corollas yellow; anthers yellow
Fruit: ray achenes 2.5–3.5 mm, 3-angled, barely compressed
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Dry forest slopes
Elevation: 1500–3350 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sierra Nevada, Western Transverse Ranges, San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains
Distribution outside California: n Baja California
Fl summer.

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