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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.


Meredith A. Lane

Annual from slender taproot, ± hairy (but appearing glabrous)
Stems generally simple or branching in lower half of plant, erect, generally flexible, glabrous to hairy, green to reddish
Leaves generally narrowly linear, ciliate, green
Inflorescence: heads radiate, disciform or discoid, nodding in bud, solitary, terminal; peduncles slender; involucres 3–7 mm, generally bell-shaped; phyllaries in 2–3 generally equal series, lanceolate to (ob)ovate, green, margins widely scarious; receptacle naked
Ray flowers present or 0, or corolla reduced to tube; corollas white, yellow, or reddish
Disk flowers few–many; corollas yellow to reddish or maroon; style tips linear, acute
Fruit 1.5–3 mm, oblong-fusiform, generally compressed, generally hairy; pappus of 0–20 fragile, slender bristles
Species in genus: 6 species: CA
Etymology: (Greek: five bristles, from pappus)
Reference: [Van Horn 1973 Univ Calif Publ Bot 65:1–41]


P. exilis (A. Gray) A. Gray

Stems 2–6 cm, hairy at base and below heads
Leaves < 3.2 cm, 1 mm wide; upper surface sparsely hairy; lower surface glabrous
Inflorescence: heads < or = 23 per plant; peduncles soft-shaggy-hairy; involucre ± bell-shaped; phyllaries elliptic to obovate, glabrous
Ray flowers 0–3; ligules 0–2 mm, white or corolla reduced to a yellow tube tinged with red
Disk flowers 6–34; corollas 5-lobed, yellow or reddish
Fruit: pappus bristles 0, 3, or 5, not expanded at base
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Grasslands, woodlands
Elevation: < 900 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges
Synonyms: Chaetopappa e. (A. Gray) D.D. Keck


subsp. exilis

Ray flowers: ligules 0; corollas reduced to yellow tubes tinged with red
Disk flowers reddish
Ecology: Grasslands
Elevation: < 900 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, San Francisco Bay Area.

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