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Higher Taxonomy
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, simple to 2+ × compound. Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, resembling a flower, of several types (see below), 1--many in generally +- cyme-like cluster; each head generally with +- calyx-like involucre of 1--many series of phyllaries (involucre bracts); receptacle of head flat to conic or columnar, paleate (bearing paleae = receptacle bracts) or epaleate; flowers 1--many per head. Flower: bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, +- small, of several types (see below); calyx 0 or modified into +- persistent pappus of bristles, scales, and/or awns; corolla radial or bilateral (0), lobes generally (0)3--5; stamens 4--5, filaments generally free, generally fused to corolla at tube/throat junction, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, anther base generally rounded or cordate (deeply sagittate or with tail-like appendages), tip (= flattened appendage) generally projecting beyond pollen sac; pistil 1, 2-carpeled, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, placenta basal, style 1, tip generally +- 2-branched (except in some staminate disk flowers), branch tips truncate or generally bearing +- brush-like appendages; stigmas 2, generally on adaxial faces of style branches. Fruit: achene (also called a cypsela) (drupe in Chrysanthemoides), cylindric to ovoid, sometimes compressed, generally deciduous with pappus attached.
Genera In Family: +- 1500 genera, 23000 species: worldwide, many habitats. Note: Flower and head types differ in form and sexual condition. A disk flower has a generally radial corolla, with a cylindric tube, expanded throat, and generally 5 lobes. Disk flowers are generally bisexual and fertile but occasionally staminate with reduced ovaries. Discoid heads comprise only disk flowers. A radiant head is a variant of a discoid head, with peripheral disk flower corollas expanded, often bilateral. A ray flower corolla is bilateral, generally with a slender tube and flattened petal-like ray (single lip composed of generally 3 lobes). Ray flowers are generally pistillate or sterile (occasionally lacking styles). Radiate heads have peripheral ray flowers and central disk flowers. Disciform heads superficially resemble discoid heads, with pistillate or sterile flowers that lack rays, together with or separate from disk flowers. A ligulate flower is bisexual, with a bilateral, generally ephemeral corolla and 5-lobed ligule. Liguliflorous heads comprise only ligulate flowers. See glossary p. 31 for illustrations of family characteristics. Echinops sphaerocephalus L., Gaillardia aristata Pursh, Gaillardia pulchella Foug., Hymenothrix loomisii S.F. Blake, Tagetes erecta L., Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.) Kuntze are waifs. Melampodium perfoliatum Kunth, historic urban waif. Ageratum conyzoides L., Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass., Santolina chamaecyparisus L., orth. var. are rare or uncommon escapes from cultivation. Dyssodia papposa, Ismelia carinata (Schousb.) Sch. Bip. [Chrysanthemum carinatum Schousb.], Mantisalca salmantica (L.) Briq. & Cavill. are historical or extirpated waifs in California. Inula helenium L. not documented in California. Taxa of Aster in TJM (1993) treated here in Almutaster, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum; Chamomilla in Matricaria; Cnicus in Centaurea; Conyza in Erigeron and Laennecia; Dugaldia in Hymenoxys; Erechtites in Senecio; Hymenoclea in Ambrosia; Lembertia in Monolopia; Osteospermum ecklonis in Dimorphotheca; Picris echioides in Helminthotheca; Prionopsis in Grindelia; Raillardiopsis in Anisocarpus and Carlquistia; Schkuhria multiflora in Bahia; Trimorpha in Erigeron; Venidium in Arctotis; Whitneya in Arnica. Taxa of Arida in TJM2 (2012) treated here in Leucosyris.
Unabridged Note: Largest family of vascular plants in California and of eudicots globally.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, except as noted
Scientific Editor: David J. Keil, Bruce G. Baldwin.

Habit: Perennial herb or subshrub, generally aromatic, silky; hairs basally forked, attached off-center; herbage dotted with resin glands. Leaf: alternate, often crowded at base; entire or 3-lobed to 1--3-pinnately dissected. Inflorescence: heads disciform, 1--many; involucre hemispheric or bell-shaped; phyllaries graduated in 2--3 series, scarious-margined and -tipped; receptacle hemispheric, glabrous or hairy, epaleate. Pistillate Flower: 4--15+, marginal; corolla narrowly tubular, lobes generally 3. Disk Flower: 30--50; corolla tubular to bell-shaped; anther base rounded or +- cordate, tip awl-shaped to lanceolate or ovate; style tips truncate, brush-like. Fruit: cylindric, 2--3- or 5--10-ribbed; pappus generally 0 or a narrow crown of awl-shaped scales.
Species In Genus: 9 species: western North America. Etymology: (Greek: sphere + division) Note: Recent studies place Sphaeromeria in Artemisia (Garcia et al. 2011 Amer J Bot 98:638--653).
eFlora Treatment Author: Timothy K. Lowrey & Elizabeth McClintock
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Citation for this treatment: Timothy K. Lowrey & Elizabeth McClintock 2016. Sphaeromeria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 23, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 23, 2016.

Sphaeromeria cana
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© 2012 Steve Matson
Sphaeromeria cana
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Sphaeromeria potentilloides var. nitrophila
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© 2007 Steve Matson
Sphaeromeria cana
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Sphaeromeria cana
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© 2009 Steve Matson
Sphaeromeria cana
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© 2014 Dana York

More photos of Sphaeromeria in CalPhotos