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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.


Elizabeth McClintock

Annual, sometimes aromatic
Stems branched, erect or decumbent
Leaves alternate, irregularly 2–3-pinnately lobed; segments linear; petiole short or 0
Inflorescence: heads discoid, solitary or 2–3; receptacle conic, naked; phyllaries in 2–3 unequal series, margins scarious
Flowers many, yellow, tubular, 4-lobed, narrowed above; anthers very small, tips ovate, bases rounded or ± cordate; style short, branches truncate with shrub-like tips
Fruit cylindric, sometimes gelatinous when wet, ribbed; pappus a narrow crown or 0
Species in genus: ± 5 species: Eur, North America
Recent taxonomic note: *For revised taxonomy of Chamomilla, see Bremer & Humphries 1993 Bull Nat Hist Mus Lind (Bot) 23: 71–177
Etymology: (Derivation of name not known)
Reference: [Moe 1977 Dissertation, Univ CA, Berkeley]


C. occidentalis (Greene) Rydb.

Plants 15–45(70) cm; herbage not strongly scented
Stems often branched only above
Leaves sessile, < 7 cm, glabrous
Inflorescence: heads generally < 1.5 cm diam, ± conic to spheric, remaining intact at maturity
Flowers: corollas 1–2 mm
Fruit angled, gelatinous when wet; tip and pappus crown 2-lobed, with wide brown gland extending from tip of each lobe to ± middle of achene
Ecology: Common. Undisturbed alkali flats, vernal pools, edges of salt marshes
Elevation: < 2400 m.
Bioregional distribution: Outer North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Mojave Desert
Flowering time: May–Aug
Synonyms: Matricaria o. Greene
Recent taxonomic note: *Matricaria occidentalis Greene
Horticultural information: SUN: 5 , 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; used as substitute for chamomile.

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