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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.


Kenton L. Chambers

Annual or perennial herb, generally scapose; sap milky
Leaves ± basal, narrow, entire to pinnately lobed
Inflorescence: head 1, ligulate, erect, 8–60 mm; phyllaries subequal or overlapping in 2–4 series, inner often elongated in fruit; receptacle flat, naked
Flowers generally many; ligules = to >> involucre, yellow or red-orange, readily withering, outer ± reddish below
Fruit linear to fusiform, ± 10-ribbed; beak often = or >> body; pappus of many fine, simple, white bristles
Species in genus: ± 10 species: Am
Etymology: (Greek: goat chicory)
Reference: [Q. Jones 1954 PhD Harvard U.]
Like Taraxacum but closely related to Nothocalais. Hybrids and polyploidy complicate variation in some species


A. retrorsa (Benth.) Greene

Perennial 10–50 cm, stout, generally soft-white-opaque-hairy (especially leaves, base of head), nonglandular
Leaves linear to oblanceolate; lobes tapered, mostly angled downward
Inflorescence: involucre 20–60 mm; outer phyllaries oblong-lanceolate, acute, ± white-tomentose, generally ± red-marked, inner phyllaries linear, much elongated in fruit
Flowers many, > involucre; ligules yellow
Fruit: body 4–7 mm, flat-topped; beak 15–25 mm, >> body
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Dry scrub, oak woodland, coniferous forest
Elevation: 400–2800 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (except coast, Great Central Valley), Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Nevada
Horticultural information: TRY.

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