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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.


Perennial, subshrub
Stems many from base
Leaves simple, generally opposite (or uppermost alternate), petioled, deltate-ovate, puberulent, gland-dotted; tip long-acuminate
Inflorescence: heads discoid, small, few–many in ± flat-topped cymes, these often arrayed in leafy-bracted, compound clusters; peduncles slender; involucre cylindric to bell-shaped; phyllaries in 1 series, linear, ± fused; receptacle rounded, naked
Flowers many; corollas 4-lobed, creamy yellow; anther tips triangular; style tips linear, tapered
Fruit oblanceolate, flat; surfaces black, puberulent, margins ± thickened, densely ciliate; pappus a low crown of fringed scales, sometimes with 1–2 bristles
Species in genus: 2 species: sw US, n Mex
Etymology: (Greek: hairs around, from ciliate fruit margin)
Reference: [Powell 1973 Southw Naturalist 18:335–339]


P. caudata A. Gray

Stems < or = 2 m, much-branched, ± puberulent, resin-dotted
Leaves many; petioles 1.5–5 cm; blades 3–12 cm, base rounded to cordate or hastate, margin entire or basal half toothed or shallowly few-lobed
Inflorescence: peduncles 5–30 mm; involucre 4.5–6 mm diam; phyllaries 4.5–7 mm, fused in lower half, margins transparent, tips soft-hairy
Flowers: corollas 3–5 mm
Fruit 3.5–5 mm; pappus scales ± 1 mm, bristles 0–2, 1–4.5 mm, generally unequal
Chromosomes: 2n=36
Ecology: Dry, rocky slopes
Elevation: 1200–2400 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sierra Nevada, East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: to Colorado, Texas, n Mexico
Flowering time: Jul–Oct

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