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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.


W.S. Davis

Annual or perennial herb < 60 dm, generally ± branched, generally erect; sap milky
Leaves generally basal and cauline, alternate, sessile, generally reduced upward
Inflorescence: heads ligulate, 2–10 mm diam; involucre 5–20 mm, generally bell-shaped; phyllaries in 3–6 series; receptacle naked or with fragile bristles < 5 mm
Flowers: corollas readily withering; ligules yellow or white, generally ± purple-striped below
Fruit generally fusiform, straw-colored to purple-brown, truncate; veins 15 (5 generally prominent, 10 sometimes obscure); outer pappus ± 0 or of 0–6 smooth, persistent bristles, inner 12–32 bristles fused at base, readily deciduous, minutely barbed below
Species in genus: 21 species: w North America, s South America
Etymology: (Greek: soft hair)
Reference: [Williams 1957 Am Midland Naturalist 58:494–517]


M. saxatilis (Nutt.) Torr. & A. Gray

Perennial 30–60 cm, from rhizome or caudex, glabrous to tomentose
Leaves linear to obovate, entire to irregularly lobed; basal withering early
Inflorescence: heads 6–8 mm diam, base generally tapered; involucre 10–12 mm; outer phyllaries generally 1/2 inner, generally lanceolate
Flowers: corollas 13–20 mm, white, outer corollas exserted 8–14 mm
Fruit 1.3–2.5 mm, minutely spiny, straw-colored to purple-brown; outer pappus of irregular teeth, bristles 0
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Open coastal sage, chaparral, sand dunes
Elevation: < 2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Channel Islands, Transverse Ranges.Varieties intergrade.

Information on Plant Height was contributed by Sean Watts (17 Jan 2004):
Jepson entry has 'Perennial 3-60 dm'...That is a big dandelion!

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