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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

ASTERACEAE

SUNFLOWER FAMILY

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.

SCOLYMUS

GOLDEN THISTLE

G. Ledyard Stebbins

Biennial, perennial herb, thistle-like, spiny; sap milky
Stems erect, ± branched above
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, pinnately lobed; lobes spine-tipped, decurrent on stem as spiny wings
Inflorescence: heads ligulate, several–many, in spike-like to panicle-like clusters; phyllaries in several rows; receptacle chaffy, scales scarious, slightly winged, tightly enclosing fruits
Flowers many; ligules yellow, readily withering
Fruit flattened parallel to phyllaries, falling with chaff scales; pappus 0 or of a few rigid bristles
Species in genus: 3 species: Medit
Etymology: (Greek: ancient name)

Introduced

S. hispanicus L.


Stems 2–8 dm, stout
Leaves 4–20 cm; basal soft, weakly spiny; cauline rigid, oblong to ovate, shallowly lobed, spiny and ± hairy
Inflorescence: heads sessile or short-peduncled, solitary in upper leaf axils or clustered in narrow panicles; involucre 15–20 mm
Fruit 3–5 mm, club-shaped; pappus bristles present
Chromosomes: 2n=20
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed grassy areas
Elevation: < 100 m.
Bioregional distribution: se Sacramento Valley, San Francisco Bay Area
Distribution outside California: native to Europe
Weedy.

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