Rafinesquia californica Nutt.

California Chicory
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

California chicory is an erect, glabrous to pubescent annual growing to 5' tall with usually a single stem from the base and branched above.  The leaves are narrowly oblong, 2" to 8" long, dentate or pinnatifid with a few lobes, the lower leaves petioled and the upper auriculate-clasping.  The ligulate flowering heads are solitary at the ends of the branches and each involucre contains from 15 to 30 white ray flowers that are tipped with five teeth.  The phyllaries are in 3-4 series, with the outer ones unequal, lanceolate to ovate, acute to acuminate, with spreading tips, and the inner series ± equal, erect, linear-acuminate and longer than the outer ones.  The fruit is a glabrous to short-rough-hairy and slender-beaked achene with pappi of 10-15 dull white to brownish plumose bristles. California chicory is found on shrubby slopes and in open woods in coastal sage scrub and chaparral, often in recently burned areas and other disturbed places at fairly low elevations, sometimes in creosote bush scrub and joshua tree woodland in the desert, blooming from April to July, and ranging from Baja to northern California, Utah and Arizona.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Rafinesquia 2) californica.
Pronunciation: raf-in-ES-kee-a ka-li-FOR-ni-ka.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.