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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, perennial herb; herbage ill-scented, glabrous, often glaucous
Leaves generally alternate, simple, pinnately lobed; each lobe with an embedded oil gland, bristle-tipped
Inflorescence: heads radiate, solitary or in cymes; peduncles short, stout; involucre hemispheric to bell-shaped; phyllaries generally in 2 series, free, outer 0–6, short, lanceolate to triangular, inner 8–12, oblong, membrane-margined, gland-dotted; receptacle convex, naked
Ray flowers generally 8; ligules showy, white to pink-purple
Disk flowers many; corollas yellow, sometimes purple-tipped; style-tips long, thread-like
Fruit narrowly club-shaped, short-hairy; pappus of 5 bundles of bristles alternating with 5 lanceolate scales
Species in genus: 3 species: sw US, n Mex
Etymology: (J.N. Nicollet, French astronomer, explorer, 1786–1843)
Reference: [Strother 1978 Sida 369–374]


N. occidentalis A. Gray

Perennial from deep taproot, glaucous
Stems erect, 12–30 cm
Leaves ± fleshy, 2–7 cm, divided into 5–11 pairs of short lobes
Inflorescence: heads solitary; peduncles generally 2–10 mm; involucre ± cylindric; outer phyllaries 4–8 mm; inner phyllaries 14–18 mm, linear to ovate, acute to acuminate, gland-dotted
Ray flowers 8–12; ligules 4.5–8.5 mm
Disk flowers: corollas 8–9.5 mm
Fruit 7–9 mm; pappus bristles 3–7 mm, scales 6–8 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=20
Ecology: Sandy desert soils, often dunes, washes
Elevation: 600–1400 m.
Bioregional distribution: s High Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: also n Baja California
Flowering time: Apr–Jun

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