Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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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.


Dale E. Johnson

Annual 1–8 dm, sometimes decumbent, ± woolly
Leaves opposite below, alternate above, linear to (ob)lanceolate, entire to wavy-dentate
Inflorescence: head solitary, radiate; involucre hemispheric; phyllaries in 1 series, free or fused into lobed cup, tips black-hairy; receptacle conic, naked
Ray flowers 1 per phyllary; corolla generally yellow, with small lobe opposite ligule
Disk flowers yellow; lobe hairs large, nonglandular
Fruit: ray fruits 3-angled (disk fruits 4-angled), ± obconic; pappus 0
Species in genus: 4 species: CA
Etymology: (Greek: single husk, from phyllaries)
Reference: [Johnson 1991 Novon 1:119–124]


M. major DC.

Stems simple or branched above and below
Inflorescence: peduncles 1–13 cm; involucre 8–13 mm; phyllaries generally 8, fused into cup with triangular lobes
Ray flowers: ligules 8–20 mm, 3-lobed, sometimes cream
Fruit 2.5–4 mm, compressed front-to-back, ± glabrous
Chromosomes: 2n=24
Ecology: Grassland, bare clay
Elevation: < 1100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Inner North Coast Ranges, sw Sacramento Valley, n San Joaquin Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, n South Coast Ranges
Horticultural information: TRY.

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