Asteraceae-Aster:misc2017-08-16T10:08:17+00:00

   Asteraceae: Sunflower Family – Astereae Tribe: various daisy-like flowers

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, one of these, the Heliantheae or Sunflower tribe, being further broken down into subtribes of which 9 are represented in Monterey  County. The Astereae (Aster tribe) includes a diverse range of  plants some of which have clearly daisy-like flowers and others, even though sometimes sharing the same genus, which do not.

California Aster – Symphyotrichum chilense

Blooms:

June–Dec

Plant Height:

4–10 dm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Grassland & disturbed areas

Notes:

A common plant, with long-lasting flowers, pale pinkish-purple with comparatively long and slender ray flowers. The flowers are easily confused with California Beach-aster (Corethrogyne filaginifolia) but their size and the plant’s green foliage makes a positive identification straightforward. The flower heads are in cyme-like clusters and have 15–40 ray flowers, 8–12 mm long. Despite the scientific name, the plant does not come from Chile.

California Sand-aster – Corethrogyne filaginifolia

Blooms:

May–Dec

Plant Height:

10–100 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Many, including coastal scrub, chaparral and grassland

Notes:

The flowers are similar to the California Aster (Symphyotrichum chilense), but the grayish and woolly leaves and stems are very distinctive.  There are 10–43 ray flowers, slightly shorter than those of the California Aster and varying in color from deep pink to almost white.  Sometimes called California Beach-aster, but this is misleading since the plant is found in a number of  habitats apart from beaches.

Rough-leaved Aster – Eurybia radulina

Blooms:

July–Sept

Plant Height:

10–70 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry forest floors & wooded slopes

Notes:

This has flat-topped clusters of 10–15 long, strappy white to pale violet ray flowers.  Phyllaries are covered with short, soft hairs and at least some have purple tips or margins. Leaves are 3–8 cm, ovate and coarsely-toothed, rough to the touch.

Telegraph Weed – Heterotheca grandiflora

Blooms:

All year

Plant Height:

< 2 m

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Disturbed areas, dry streambeds, sand dunes

Notes:

Locally very common. Frequently small and scruffy, it is at its best in late summer when it grows into a tall, slender plant with a leafy stem and numerous flower heads. Individual flower heads have 25–40 rays, 5–8 mm long, and 30–75 disk flowers. Fruits are in dandelion-like seedheads with tan-colored  pappus.

Bristly Goldenaster – Heterotheca sessiflora subsp. echioides

Blooms:

July–Oct

Plant Height:

30–75 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Grassland, scrub, woodland & disturbed places

Notes:

Individual flower heads can be quite variable with anything from 3–30 ray flowers, 3–10 mm long. The stems and phyllaries are covered in dense white hairs as are the gray-green leaves which are flat. The inflorescences are not subtended by bracts, unlike those in the coastal subsp. sessiliflora whose bracts are also larger. Fruits are in dandelion-like seedheads with tan pappus.

Benitoa – Benitoa occidentalis

Blooms:

June–Nov

Plant Height:

10–150 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Rare or Endangered?

Yes – 4.3

Habitat:

Dry hillsides, inland

Notes:

Stem is erect and much-branched.  Inflorescences generally have 5–8 ray flowers, 5–7 mm long with 9–20= disk flowers. Margins of the ray flowers sometimes rolled under,  Involucre more or less cylindrical, taper at the base. A key identifying feature is the phyllaries, in 5–8 series with a large stalked gland at the tip of each phyllary. Leaves are alternate, sessile, linear to oblanceolate and reducing in size towards the top of the stem. Endemic to the Diablo Range.

Rigiopappus – Rigiopappus leptocladus

Blooms:

Apr–July

Plant Height:

10–30 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Open grassy slopes, mainly in southern Monterey

Notes:

A very small flower, less than 2–3 mm in diameter with, generally, 3, 5, or 8 ray flowers. Its diminutive size can clearly be seen in the photo with a brodiaea flower in the background. The plant is very slender, slightly hairy and branched with long, thread-like stems and peduncles generally extending beyond the main stem. Leaves mostly cauline when the plant is in flower, oblanceolate to linear in shape.