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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. sativa Molina


Annual 2–24 dm, ± strongly ill-scented
Stems simple or branches stiff, ascending, very leafy, soft-glandular-hairy throughout, generally very sticky; glands yellow to black
Leaves: lower 2–15 cm, linear to lanceolate, entire or toothed, finely appressed- to spreading-hairy, densely glandular to ± glandless; upper reduced or well developed, hairy, densely glandular
Inflorescence: heads sessile to short-peduncled, in dense cymes or panicle-like clusters; involucre 7–15 mm, ovoid or urn-shaped; phyllaries soft-hairy or bristly, generally densely glandular, tips long, flat; chaff scales strongly fused
Ray flowers 6–9, generally 8; corolla tubes 1.5–4 mm, ligules 1.5–4 mm, ± = tube, greenish yellow, sometimes red-tinged
Disk flowers 11–14, fertile; corollas 1.7–5 mm; anthers black
Fruits alike, 2.5–5 mm, strongly compressed side-to-side, weakly bowed out, glabrous, black or dark brown, sometimes mottled; beak 0; pappus 0
Chromosomes: 2n=32
Ecology: Coastal grassland
Elevation: < 950 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Central Western California, Southwestern California
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, n Baja California; also sw S.America
Synonyms: M. capitata Nutt
Closely related to, partly interfertile with M. gracilis.

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