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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.

SENECIO

GROUNDSEL, RAGWORT, BUTTERWEED

Theodore M. Barkley

Annual to tree-like, generally ± loosely hairy, becoming ± subglabrous; roots generally fibrous, branched
Stems generally 1–few per rosette
Leaves alternate; lower generally petioled; middle generally weakly clasping; uppermost generally bract-like
Inflorescence often ± flat-topped; heads radiate or discoid, 1–many; involucre cylindric to hemispheric; main phyllaries in 1 equal series (often subtended by few, much-reduced outer phyllaries)
Ray flowers 0–13; ligules generally yellow to orange
Disk flowers generally < 40; corolla generally ± yellow; style tips truncate to obtuse, generally hair-tufted
Fruit cylindric; ribs shallow, often stiff-hairy; pappus of thin, minutely barbed deciduous bristles ± = fruit body
Species in genus: ± 1500 species: worldwide; some cultivated, some of unusual form
Recent taxonomic note: *For revised taxonomy of Senecio, see Barkley 1999 Sida 18(3):661–672.
Etymology: (Latin: old man, from white pappus)
Reference: [Barkley 1978 North America Flora II 10:50–139]
Among largest genera of flowering plants.

Native

S. breweri Burtt Davy

Biennial or short-lived perennial herb 4–11 dm, from short caudex, glabrous or minutely hair-tufted in lower axils
Leaves: lower 10–30 cm; blade generally > petiole, narrowly obovate, deeply dissected, terminal lobe ± ovate-cordate, lateral lobes 4–12+, margins dentate
Inflorescence: heads radiate, (4)15–30+; main phyllaries ± 13, sometimes 21, 8–10 mm, tips green
Ray flowers 8(13); ligules 10–20 mm
Disk flowers < 40
Fruit glabrous
Chromosomes: 2n=46
Ecology: Seasonally damp, protected woodlands
Elevation: 200–1700 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sierra Nevada Foothills, Tehachapi Mountain Area, e San Joaquin Valley, c&s Central Western California, n Western Transverse Ranges
Recent taxonomic note: *Packera breweri (Burtt Davy) W.A. Weber & Á. Löve
Horticultural information: TRY.

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