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

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.

MICROSERIS

Kenton L. Chambers

Annual or perennial herb, ± mealy (hairs drying as minute white scales); sap milky
Leaves mostly basal, generally linear to (ob)lanceolate, generally variably entire to pinnately lobed
Inflorescence: heads solitary, ligulate, ± nodding in bud; involucre generally fusiform to spheric; phyllaries in 2–several series, outer overlapping, inner often ± black-hairy; receptacle naked
Flowers 5–many; corollas white to orange, often reddish below, ligules = to >> involucre, readily withering
Fruit cylindric to fusiform, generally square-topped, not beaked; ribs ± 10, ± scabrous; pappus of generally 5–many ± lanceolate, bristle-tipped scales
Etymology: (Greek: small chicory)
Reference: [Chambers Contr Dudley Herb Stanford U: 1955 4:207–312 & 1957 5:57–68]
Hybridization common. Self-pollinating (annual) or self-incompatible and ± complex (perennial herb).

Native

M. douglasii (DC.) Sch.Bip.

Annual 5–60 cm, scapose
Leaf 3–25 cm
Inflorescence: involucre 7–16 mm; outer phyllaries deltate, << inner
Flowers 5–100+; ligules yellow or white
Fruit 3–10 mm, gray to brown or blackish, often dark-spotted; outermost fruits generally hairy; pappus scales < or = 5, 0.5–6.5 mm, silvery to blackish, often hairy, bristles 1–8.5 mm, ± strongly barbed
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Inland clay soils, grassland, often near vernal pools or serpentine outcrops
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, South Coast, Channel Islands
Distribution outside California: Oregon, Baja California
Highly variable; vars. intergrade.

Native

subsp. platycarpha (A. Gray) K.L. Chambers


Fruit 3–4.5 mm, widest at tip; pappus scales 2–7 mm (generally > fruit), becoming curved and ± inrolled, bristles 1–4 mm
Ecology: Habitats of sp.
Bioregional distribution: c&s South Coast, s Channel Islands
Distribution outside California: Baja California

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