Asteraceae: Sunflower Family – Cichorieae (Dandelion) Tribe: Agoseris & Malacothrix
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. The Cichorieae (Dandelion) tribe has two distinctive features. First, they all have stems with milky sap. Second (and more important), they do not have disk and ray flowers like typical daisies. Instead they have what are called “ligules” which resemble strap-like ray flowers. Unlike ray flowers, ligules have both male and female parts – without which no reproduction would be possible. A third difference is that ray flowers have 0–3 lobes at the tip; ligules have 5. This page covers two native genera, Agoseris and Malacothrix.