Asteraceae: Sunflower Family – Gnaphalieae (Cudweed) Tribe – 3

The Sunflower family is a very large family with over 25,000 members.  Botanists subdivide the family into a number of tribes, of which 14 are represented in Monterey County.  Members of the Gnaphalieae or Cudweed Tribe lack ray flowers, and usually have tight heads with inconspicuous disk flowers only.  This page covers some of the species that fall outside the main group of cudweeds or everlastings.

California Filago / Cottonrose – Logfia filaginoides

Blooms:

Feb–June

Plant Height:

< 30 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry, open places; burns

Notes:

This is similar in general appearance and growth habit to Narrow-leaved Cottonrose (Logfia gallica, see below).   However, it may be distinguished by its pear-shaped flower head, and by its subtending leaves, that do not surpass the heads and are usually oblanceolate in shape.

Narrow-leaved Filago / Cottonrose – Logfia gallica

Blooms:

Mar–July

Plant Height:

< 50 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Europe

Habitat:

Burns & waste places

Notes:

This is an unprepossessing plant, which is commonly found on trails but easily overlooked. It has a slender, much branched growth habit.  There are tiny, woolly, disciform heads at the tips and in the axils of the stems, surrounded by awl-shaped leaves that are 2–5 x the size of the flask-shaped  heads.

Slender Cottonweed / Q-tips – Micropus californicus var. californicus

Blooms:

Mar–June

Plant Height:

1–50 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry or moist, bare or grassy places

Notes:

Small, grayish-white cobwebby plant with a cluster of 4-6 tiny woolly flower heads towards the tip of the stems.  Can be found in great numbers.

Slender Woolly-marbles – Psilocarphus tenellus

Blooms:

Mar–June

Stem length:

1–15 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Seasonally moist areas and dry vernal pools in hard-packed soil

Notes:

Unlike the similar Round Woolly-marbles (Psilocarphus chilensis), this has leaves that are somewhat slender and spreading below the woolly heads. The flower heads are no more than 5.5 mm across.   The stem is first erect and then prostrate.

Everlasting Neststraw – Stylocline gnaphaloides

Blooms:

Mar–May

Stem length:

1–15 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Sandy soil, often disturbed, or after fires

Notes:

At first sight, resembles Round Woolly-marbles (Psilocarphus tenellus, see above), but the growth habit and flower heads are somewhat different. Leaves are alternate or apparently whorled, not opposite. The plant is small and gray-hairy, with more or less spherical flower heads with the phyllaries closely appressed. Heads are 3–6 mm across. Papery scales subtend the female flowers.