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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.



G. Ledyard Stebbins

Annual or perennial herb, generally ± woolly or tomentose
Leaves alternate, sessile, entire
Inflorescence: heads disciform, many, small, ± sessile in clusters; involucres ± cylindric to spheric, often bell-shaped when pressed; phyllaries graded in several series, transparent to opaque at tips or scarious ± throughout; receptacle flat, naked
Pistillate flowers many, in several series; corollas very slender, minutely lobed, cream to pale yellow or tip reddish
Disk flowers few; corollas ± cylindric to funnel-shaped, whitish to purplish; anther bases short-tailed; style branches wider at tip, truncate
Fruit < 1 mm, oblong; pappus of many fine bristles, bases sometimes fused
Species in genus: ± 120 species: worldwide
Etymology: (Greek: lock of wool)


G. japonicum Thunb.

Annual 5–75 cm, unscented
Stems simple or branched from base (little branched above), tomentose
Leaves cauline, 10–70 mm, oblong to spoon-shaped, petioled, glabrous above, densely white-tomentose below
Inflorescence dense, spheric; involucre ± 4 mm, cylindric; phyllaries smooth and brown above, transparent, base white-woolly
Flowers ± 20; pistillate corollas 3–3.5 mm
Fruit: pappus bristles falling separately
Chromosomes: 2n=28
Ecology: Disturbed places
Elevation: < 700 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Inner North Coast Ranges, s San Joaquin Valley
Distribution outside California: native to Australasia

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