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Vascular Plants of California
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Achyrachaena mollis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, simple to 2+ × compound. Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, resembling a flower, of several types (see below), 1--many in generally +- cyme-like cluster; each head generally with +- calyx-like involucre of 1--many series of phyllaries (involucre bracts); receptacle of head flat to conic or columnar, paleate (bearing paleae = receptacle bracts) or epaleate; flowers 1--many per head. Flower: bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, +- small, of several types (see below); calyx 0 or modified into +- persistent pappus of bristles, scales, and/or awns; corolla radial or bilateral (0), lobes generally (0)3--5; stamens 4--5, filaments generally free, generally fused to corolla at tube/throat junction, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, anther base generally rounded or cordate (deeply sagittate or with tail-like appendages), tip (= flattened appendage) generally projecting beyond pollen sac; pistil 1, 2-carpeled, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, placenta basal, style 1, tip generally +- 2-branched (except in some staminate disk flowers), branch tips truncate or generally bearing +- brush-like appendages; stigmas 2, generally on adaxial faces of style branches. Fruit: achene (also called a cypsela) (drupe in Chrysanthemoides), cylindric to ovoid, sometimes compressed, generally deciduous with pappus attached.
Genera In Family: +- 1500 genera, 23000 species: worldwide, many habitats. Note: Flower and head types differ in form and sexual condition. A disk flower has a generally radial corolla, with a cylindric tube, expanded throat, and generally 5 lobes. Disk flowers are generally bisexual and fertile but occasionally staminate with reduced ovaries. Discoid heads comprise only disk flowers. A radiant head is a variant of a discoid head, with peripheral disk flower corollas expanded, often bilateral. A ray flower corolla is bilateral, generally with a slender tube and flattened petal-like ray (single lip composed of generally 3 lobes). Ray flowers are generally pistillate or sterile (occasionally lacking styles). Radiate heads have peripheral ray flowers and central disk flowers. Disciform heads superficially resemble discoid heads, with pistillate or sterile flowers that lack rays, together with or separate from disk flowers. A ligulate flower is bisexual, with a bilateral, generally ephemeral corolla and 5-lobed ligule. Liguliflorous heads comprise only ligulate flowers. See glossary p. 31 for illustrations of family characteristics. Echinops sphaerocephalus L., Gaillardia aristata Pursh, Gaillardia pulchella Foug., Hymenothrix loomisii S.F. Blake, Tagetes erecta L., Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.) Kuntze are waifs. Melampodium perfoliatum Kunth, historic urban waif. Ageratum conyzoides L., Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass., Santolina chamaecyparisus L., orth. var. are rare or uncommon escapes from cultivation. Dyssodia papposa, Ismelia carinata (Schousb.) Sch. Bip. [Chrysanthemum carinatum Schousb.], Mantisalca salmantica (L.) Briq. & Cavill. are historical or extirpated waifs in California. Inula helenium L. not documented in California. Taxa of Aster in TJM (1993) treated here in Almutaster, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum; Chamomilla in Matricaria; Bahia in Hymenothrix; Cnicus in Centaurea; Conyza in Erigeron and Laennecia; Dugaldia in Hymenoxys; Erechtites in Senecio; Hymenoclea in Ambrosia; Lembertia in Monolopia; Osteospermum ecklonis in Dimorphotheca; Picris echioides in Helminthotheca; Prionopsis in Grindelia; Raillardiopsis in Anisocarpus and Carlquistia; Schkuhria multiflora in Picradeniopsis; Trimorpha in Erigeron; Venidium in Arctotis; Whitneya in Arnica. Amauriopsis in TJM2 (2012) treated here in Hymenothrix; Arida in Leucosyris; Bahia in Picradeniopsis.
Unabridged Note: Largest family of vascular plants in California and of eudicots globally.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, except as noted
Scientific Editor: David J. Keil, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: AchyrachaenaView Description 

Common Name: BLOW-WIVES

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Greek, Latin: scaly achene, from fruit)
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce G. Baldwin
Reference: Baldwin & Strother 2006 FNANM 21:258--259
Unabridged Reference: Carlquist et al. 2003 Tarweeds and Silverswords: Evolution of the Madiinae (Asteraceae)
Achyrachaena mollis Schauer
Habit: Annual 4--62 cm. Stem: erect, branched distally. Leaf: simple, generally cauline, proximal opposite, distal alternate, +- sessile, 2--15 cm, 1--7 mm wide, linear, entire or toothed, hairy, distal glandular-hairy. Inflorescence: heads radiate, 1--10+ in loose, rounded or +- flat-topped cluster; involucre 3--12 mm diam; phyllaries 3--8 in 1 series, each fully enveloping a ray ovary, falling with fruit, 10--20 mm, +- lance-linear, abaxially hairy and sparsely glandular or glands 0; receptacle flat to convex, short-bristly; paleae in 1 series between ray and disk flowers, free, deciduous. Ray Flower: 3--8; corolla yellow, turning +- red, ray 4--7 mm, erect or spreading, inconspicuous, lobes +- parallel. Disk Flower: 4--35; corolla 6--10 mm, yellow to +- red, abaxially hairy, tube +- = throat, lobes lance-deltate; anthers +- dark purple, tips ovate; style glabrous proximal to branches, branches free, tips lance-linear, short-bristly.; anther bases sagittate. Fruit: 4.5--9 mm; ray fruit +- club-shaped, compressed front-to-back, 10-ribbed, glabrous or +- scabrous, black, pappus 0; disk fruit similar to ray fruits, +- scabrous, brown to black, pappus of 10, oblong, shiny-white, obtuse scales in 2 series, 5 outer scales 3--9 mm, 5 inner scales 6--13 mm, spreading in fruit. Chromosomes: 2n=16.
Ecology: Grassy sites, often clay soils; Elevation: < 1220 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (exc NCo, NCoRH, SNH); Distribution Outside California: southern Oregon, northern Baja California. Flowering Time: Mar--Jun Note: Self-fertile.
Jepson eFlora Author: Bruce G. Baldwin
Reference: Baldwin & Strother 2006 FNANM 21:258--259
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Achyrachaena mollis

botanical illustration including Achyrachaena mollis


Citation for this treatment: Bruce G. Baldwin 2012, Achyrachaena mollis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=703, accessed on June 04, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 04, 2020.

Achyrachaena mollis
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© 2014 Steve Matson
Achyrachaena mollis
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© 2011 Neal Kramer
Achyrachaena mollis
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© 2003 Barry Breckling
Achyrachaena mollis
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Achyrachaena mollis
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© 2014 Steve Matson
Achyrachaena mollis
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer

More photos of Achyrachaena mollis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Achyrachaena mollis:
CA-FP (exc NCo, NCoRH, SNH)
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).