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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonCentaurea calcitrapa
Family common name(s)composite; composita; comp; aster; asterwort; asterworts; sunflower; daisy; dandelion
Genus common name(s)centaurea; knapweed; knap-weed; knap weed; knopweed; knop-weed; knop weed; star-thistle; star thistle; starthistle; cornflower; corn-flower; corn flower; barbeau
Species common name(s)purple star-thistle; purple star thistle; purple starthistle; big-head purple star-thistle; big-head purple star thistle; big head purple starthistle; red star-thistle; red star thistle; red starthistle; common star-thistle; common star thistle; common starthistle; maize-thorn; maize thorn
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxacentaury, caltrop, calthrop, caltrops, calthrops, mouse-thorn, mouse thorn, dusty miller, dusty-miller are applied to taxa in multiple families
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