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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. neomexicana A. Gray


Stems 1–several from base, 1–4 dm, in larger plants generally < 5 mm diam near base
Leaves 3–15 cm, dentate or ± narrowly lobed
Inflorescence: heads generally 1–5 per stem; peduncles 2–8(15) cm; involucres generally 17–30 mm
Flowers: ligules 15–20 mm, >> phyllaries
Fruit 12–14 mm (including beak); body 8–10 mm, puberulent or appressed-scaly; beak stout, generally < body; pappus bristles 12–17 mm, stiff, wider at base, plumose with tangled hairs, often merely barbed at tip, white
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Gravelly and sandy desert soils, often partially supported in branches of shrubs
Elevation: generally < 1400 m.
Bioregional distribution: Desert
Distribution outside California: to sw Utah, w Texas, n Mexico
Flowering time: Feb–May
Horticultural information: TRY.

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