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.


G. Ledyard Stebbins

Annual, glabrous; sap milky
Stems erect, generally branched above
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, oblong to widely elliptic or oblanceolate, dentate or pinnately lobed; lower ± petioled or sessile, clasping; upper bract-like
Inflorescence: heads ligulate, solitary or in ± flat-topped or panicle-like clusters; peduncles with scale-like or reduced leaf-like bracts; involucre cylindric or obconic; phyllaries in 3–4 series, outer 2–3 series unequal, lanceolate to ovate, acute to acuminate, tips spreading, innermost series ± equal, linear-acuminate, >> outer, erect, generally ± membrane-margined; receptacle flat or convex, naked
Flowers many; ligules white or cream, often rose-tinged, especially beneath, readily withering
Fruit narrowly elliptic; body smooth or tubercled, weakly ribbed, tapered to a beak; pappus a ring of plumose bristles
Species in genus: 2 species: sw US, n Mex
Etymology: (C.S. Rafinesque, eccentric US naturalist, 1783–1840)


R. californica Nutt.


Stem generally 1 from base, erect, branched chiefly in upper half, 2–15+ dm, in larger plants 10+ mm diam near base
Leaves 3–15 cm, oblong, dentate or coarsely and ± widely lobed
Inflorescence: heads generally several–many; peduncles 1–8 cm; involucres 14–20 mm
Flowers: ligules 5–8 mm, slightly > phyllaries
Fruit 9–11 mm (including beak); body 4–5 mm, ± glabrous to short-rough-hairy; beak slender, ± = body; pappus bristles 6–10 mm, very fine, plumose to tip with straight hairs, dull white to brownish; bristles bearing straight hairs
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Shrubby slopes, open woods, deserts, often common after fires
Elevation: < 1500 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, White and Inyo Mountains, Desert
Distribution outside California: to sw Utah, Arizona, Baja California
Flowering time: Apr–Jul
Horticultural information: TRY.

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