Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus

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, Doellingeria, 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; Eucephalus in Doellingeria.
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: PsilocarphusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual 1--15(20) cm, gray to green, cobwebby to woolly or tomentose. Stem: 1, erect, or 2--10, ascending to prostrate, generally +- forked, +- leafless between forks. Leaf: generally opposite (distal +- alternate), +- sessile, linear to ovate or obovate, entire; distal leaves subtending heads, crowded, largest > proximal leaves. Inflorescence: heads disciform, sessile, single or 2--4 per dense group, generally spheric; involucre 0, simulated by paleae and leaves; receptacle length 1--2 × width, +- obovoid, glabrous (generally not lobed); paleae of pistillate flowers each enclosing flower, deciduous with fruit, +- obovoid or cylindric, length generally < 3 × width, obtuse, bulged out and hood-like distally, tomentose to woolly abaxially, prominently net-veined, veins 5+, margin +- reflexed distally as scarious wing, wing adaxially lateral, generally at >= 2/3 palea, projected inward, hidden in head, +- beak-like; paleae of disk flowers 0. Pistillate Flower: (8)20--100+, all subtended by paleae; corolla obscure, narrowly cylindric. Disk Flower: staminate, 2--10; pappus 0; corolla 4--5 lobed; anther base tailed, tip +- triangular; style tips +- linear-oblong. Fruit: each enclosed by palea, +- club-shaped (then +- compressed laterally) to +- cylindric, smooth, shiny, corolla scar +- terminal; pappus 0.
Species In Genus: 5 species: western North America, southern South America. Etymology: (Greek: slender chaff) Note: Species sometimes appear to intergrade where ranges overlap; needs study.
eFlora Treatment Author: James D. Morefield
Reference: Morefield 2006 FNANM 19:456--460
Species: Psilocarphus brevissimusView Description 

Habit: Plant +- green to +- gray, cobwebby to woolly. Stem: proximal internodes generally 0.5--1.5(2) × leaf lengths. Leaf: distal generally appressed to heads, lanceolate to ovate, longest 1--2.5(3) × heads. Inflorescence: paleae hidden or visible through hairs, longest 2.8--4 mm. Disk Flower: 0.8--1.6 mm; corolla generally 5-lobed. Fruit: 0.8--1.9 mm, +- club-shaped.

Psilocarphus brevissimus Nutt. var. brevissimus
Habit: Plant generally woolly. Stem: (1)2--10. Leaf: longest generally 8--15 mm, 1.5--4 × width. Inflorescence: largest heads 6--9 mm, +- spheric, generally woolly; receptacle not or shallowly lobed; paleae obovoid, length 1.5--3 × width, wing at >= 2/3 palea length. Chromosomes: 2n=28.
Ecology: Drying edges of vernal pools, mud flats, drainages; Elevation: 10--2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (exc c&s SNH, Teh, ChI, SnGb, SnJt), MP (exc Wrn); Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Wyoming, Utah, northwestern Baja California; also southern South America. Flowering Time: May--Jun
Synonyms: Psilocarphus globiferus Nutt.
Unabridged Note: Type of Psilocarphus globiferus Nutt. [not Psilocarphus tenellus Nutt. var. globiferus (Bertero ex DC.) Morefield] shows some features intermediate toward Psilocarphus tenellus.
Jepson eFlora Author: James D. Morefield
Reference: Morefield 2006 FNANM 19:456--460
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus

botanical illustration including Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus


Citation for this treatment: James D. Morefield 2012, Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 17, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 17, 2021.

Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus
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© 2011 Barry Rice
Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus
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© 2020 Neal Kramer
Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus
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© 2009 George W. Hartwell
Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus
click for enlargement
© 2020 Neal Kramer
Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus
click for enlargement
© 2020 Neal Kramer
Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Breckling

More photos of Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Psilocarphus brevissimus var. brevissimus:
CA-FP (exc c&s SNH, Teh, ChI, SnGb, SnJt), MP (exc Wrn)
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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.
View all CCH records
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.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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).