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