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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.


David J. Keil and Charles E. Turner

Stems erect, openly branched above
Leaves: basal entire or toothed; cauline alternate, pinnately lobed
Inflorescence: heads disciform; involucre cylindric to ovoid; phyllaries in several overlapping series, oblong-lanceolate, acute; receptacle chaffy
Flowers 3–15; outer sterile, inner 1–2 fertile; corolla purple, tube slender, gradually wider, lobes linear; anther bases short-tailed, tips narrowly triangular; style with minutely hairy cylindric node and papillate terminal segment, branches short, triangular
Fruit cylindric or ± compressed; base puberulent, soft-hairy upward; pappus (on fertile fruit only) of small scales and stiff bristles
Species in genus: 2 species: Eur
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name)


C. vulgaris Cass.


Stems generally 2–6 dm, leafy up to branches
Leaves: basal sessile or petioled, oblong to obovate, scabrous, generally 0 at flower; cauline sessile, 1–3.5 cm, lobes linear, minutely toothed
Inflorescence: peduncles 1–3 cm; involucre 8–20 mm
Flowers 3–5; corollas ± 14 mm
Fruit generally 1 per head, 3–4 mm, barrel-shaped, attached at base; pappus scales < 1 mm, bristles 5–7 mm, blackish brown
Chromosomes: 2n=30
Ecology: Grassy places
Elevation: ± 250 m.
Bioregional distribution: s North Coast Ranges (Sonoma Co.), Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: native to s Europe

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