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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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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.

CARTHAMUS

DISTAFF THISTLE

David J. Keil and Charles E. Turner

Annual in CA
Stem generally erect, leafy, branched above or throughout
Leaves alternate, generally pinnately lobed, ± spiny; basal often 0 by flower; cauline generally clasping, generally spreading to recurved, lanceolate to ovate, rigid
Inflorescence: heads discoid, solitary; involucre ± urn-shaped; outer phyllaries ± leaf-like, inner with spiny appendages in CA; receptacle convex to conic, chaffy
Flowers: corolla tube very slender, throat abruptly expanded, lobes linear; filaments generally densely hairy, anther bases short-tailed, tips oblong; style tip with minutely hairy node and terminal segment minutely papillate, barely notched
Fruit oblong to obpyramidal, ± 4-angled, glabrous, attached at side; outer fruits generally ± roughened, pappus generally 0; inner fruits smooth, pappus 0 or of many, narrow, generally unequal scales
Species in genus: 14 species: Medit
Etymology: (Arabic: fruits from flower color)

Introduced

C. leucocaulos Sibth. & Sm.

WHITESTEM DISTAFF THISTLE

Plant 3–10 dm, (becoming) ± glabrous
Stem generally shiny white
Leaves: cauline lobes 2–3 pairs, long, spine-tipped
Inflorescence: involucre 10–13 mm, ± glabrous; outer phyllaries reflexed, 2.5–3 X inner, very shiny, tip appendages prominently spiny
Flowers: corollas 13–17 mm, pale purple
Fruit 3–5 mm, brown; pappus 5–7 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=20
Ecology: Grassland
Elevation: < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: s North Coast Ranges (expected more widely)
Distribution outside California: native to Mediterranean
Weedy.

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