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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 melitensis
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)tocalote; tocolote; tacalote; tocalote weed; tocolote weed; Maltese starthistle; Maltese star-thistle; Maltese star thistle; Maltese thistle; Maltese centaury; Maltese cockspur; Maltese cock-spur; Maltese cock spur; Maltese cockspurr; Malta star-thistle; Malta star thistle; Malta starthistle; Malta thistle; Napa star-thistle; Napa star thistle; Napa starthistle; Napa thistle; cockspur thistle; saucy Jack; saucy jack
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxaspotted knapweed is more commonly applied to Centaurea stoebe subsp. micranthos; yellow star-thistle, yellow starthistle, yellow star thistle are more commonly applied to Centaurea solstitialis; centaury, pasture weed, dusty miller, dusty-miller are applied to taxa in multiple families
NotesMaltese, Malta, Napa are proper names, so upper case preferable
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