Chaenactis xantiana A. Gray

Xantus Pincushion
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)


Xantus pincushion, named for the Hungarian botanist Janos Xantus who collected in California and Baja, is an erect, glabrate, 1- to several-stemmed annual, branched above the middle and growing to some 1-1/2' tall.  The leaves are somewhat fleshy, 3/4" to 2-1/4" long, entire or 1-pinnately lobed with 1-2 (occasionally more) well separated pairs of linear, cylindrical-tipped segments, and the basal rosettes are usually withering by anthesis.  There are few to many heads per stem, and the involucres are obconic to about 5/8" high.  The phyllaries that are generally recurved and have tips that are blunt and soft-puberulent.  The corollas are all radial, white to pinkish, with the outer ones somewhat enlarged.  There are eight pappus scales in two series, four long surrounded by four very short.  Xantus pincushion is usually found on sandy soils of desert slopes to 7000' in the western Mojave Desert, ranging from the Mojave River and the north base of the San Gabriel Mts northwest to Mt. Pinos, and from there to the Sierra Nevadas and Oregon.  Its blooming period is April to June. These pictures were taken in the Poppy Reserve near Lancaster.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Chaenactis 2) xantiana.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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