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, one of these, the Heliantheae or Sunflower tribe, being further broken down into subtribes of which 9 are represented in Monterey County. The Cichorieae (Dandelion) tribe has two distinctive features. The first is that they all have stems with milky sap. The second (and more important) is that they do not have disk and ray flowers like typical daisies. Instead they have what are called “ligules” which resemble strap-like ray flowers but, unlike ray flowers, have both male and female parts – without which no reproduction would be possible. Another difference is that ray flowers have 0–3 lobes at the tip; ligules have 5. This page covers two native genera, Agoseris and Malacothrix.