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.



David J. Keil and Charles E. Turner

Annual to perennial herb (sometimes short-lived, dying after flowering once)
Stem generally erect
Leaves: lower generally tapered or petioled, often wavy-margined, generally pinnately lobed, ± dentate, lobes and teeth spine-tipped, margin generally spiny-ciliate, glabrous to tomentose; upper generally sessile, ± reduced
Inflorescence: heads discoid, 1–many; involucre cylindric to spheric; phyllaries many, graduated in several series, outer spine-tipped; receptacle flat, long-bristly
Flowers generally many; corollas ± bilateral, white to red or purple, tube long, slender, lobes linear; anther bases sharply sagittate, tips oblong; style tip with slightly swollen node, appendage (above node) long, cylindric, branches very short
Fruit ovoid, glabrous; scar slightly angled; pappus bristles many, plumose, ± persistent or falling in ring
Species in genus: ± 200 species: North America, Eurasia
Etymology: (Greek: thistle)
Taxa difficult, incompletely differentiated, hybridize.


C. cymosum (Greene) Jeps.


Perennial 2.5–6(>10) dm; rootstock branched
Stem generally simple below, ± cobwebby, soft-hairy (hairs jointed)
Leaves ± cobwebby on both surfaces or becoming glabrous above, soft-hairy (hairs jointed), especially on midrib below; rosettes from rootstock branches; lower 1–2(5) dm, petioled, generally 1–2 X lobed, main spines 3–4 mm, middle and upper clasping or short-decurrent, upper much reduced, generally very spiny
Inflorescence: heads few–many in ± flat-topped cymes (sometimes raceme- or panicle-like), sessile or peduncles generally 1–10 cm; involucres 1.5–3 cm, 1.5–5 cm diam, ovoid to hemispheric, ± tomentose; phyllaries ± linear, midribs of outer and middle generally with a narrow sticky glandular area, tips ascending to spreading, spines 2–4 mm, inner with tips flat, straight
Flowers: corollas 20–33 mm, dull white, tube 10–15 mm, throat 8–12 mm, lobes 5–8 mm
Fruit 7–8 mm, dark brown to black, ± flattened; pappus 15–25 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=30, 34
Ecology: Shrubland, woodland, open forest, meadows, sometimes on serpentine
Elevation: 100–2100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, n&s Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay Area, n Inner South Coast Ranges, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: s Oregon
Horticultural information: STBL.

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