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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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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.



Annual or perennial herb, generally densely glandular, aromatic
Stems 1–several, generally simple below, ± branched above
Leaves generally opposite below, alternate above, generally linear to lanceolate, entire to slightly toothed
Inflorescence: heads generally radiate, generally peduncled, few–many; phyllaries generally 1–20, free, enclosing (and falling with) ray achenes; receptacle ± flat, generally glabrous; chaff scales generally ± fused, in ring between ray and disk flowers
Ray flowers generally 1–20, sometimes minute; ligules 2–3-lobed, generally yellow
Disk flowers 1–many, sometimes staminate; corollas yellow or maroon; anther tips triangular-ovate; style tips linear to oblong, acute, bristly
Fruit club-shaped or obovoid; ray achenes compressed, thickened, or 3-angled (1 angle toward center of head), ridged, sometimes beaked; pappus 0 or of short scales; disk achenes ± symmetric; pappus 0 or of 4–10 scales or bristles
Species in genus: 21 species: w North America, sw South America
Recent taxonomic note: *See revised taxonomy of Baldwin 1999 Novon 9:462–471.
Etymology: (Chilean name)
Reference: [Nelson & Nelson 1980 Brittonia 32:323–325]


M. gracilis (Sm.) Applegate


Annual 1–10 dm, ± fragrant
Stems: branches ascending, generally not overtopping main stem, ± bristly to long-soft-hairy below, generally glandular above
Leaves 3–10 cm, soft-hairy, stalked-glandular
Inflorescence: heads ± sessile to long-peduncled, in raceme- or panicle-like clusters; involucre 6–10 mm, depressed-spheric to urn-shaped; phyllaries ± densely stalked-glandular, tips flat; chaff scales fused > 1/2 length, easily separated
Ray flowers 3–9; corolla tubes 2–3 mm, ligules 1.5–8 mm, lemon-yellow
Disk flowers 2–12, fertile; corollas 3–5 mm; anthers black
Fruits alike, 2.8–5 mm, obovate, flat, ± bowed outward, glabrous, often mottled; beak ± 0; pappus 0
Chromosomes: 2n=32,48
Ecology: Grassy areas, woodlands, open forests, many habitats
Elevation: < 2400 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Montana, Utah, n Baja California; also s S.America
Flowering time: Apr–Aug
Synonyms: subspp. collina D.D. Keck and pilosa D.D. Keck
Highly variable; ± interfertile with, sometimes hybridizing with M. anomala, M. citriodora, & M. sativa.

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