Blepharipappus

When I first encountered blepharipappus (Blepharipappus scaber) I was told this pretty little wildflower did not have a common name. So for me, blepharipappus became its name. Subsequently I discovered that rough eyelash and rough eyelashweed are colloquial names for blepharipappus. But I continue to call this native annual blepharipappus, since old habits die hard. Besides, the genus name is fun to pronounce.

A member of the sunflower family, blepharipappus has a branched stem that is from four to twelve inches in height depending on growth conditions. The short linear leaves with rolled edges usually point upward. The ray and disc flowers typical of the sunflower family are borne in one to several heads per plant. The white petal-like ray flowers are wedge shaped with three distinctive lobes per petal and three purple veins on the back of each. Each flower head has two to eight ray flowers and about five disc flowers. The central disc flowers are also white and have purple anthers. The fruit is an achene (hard, dry seed) with a linear fringe of eyelash like hairs (pappus).

Common in the Great Basin area of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho, blepharipappus is found the in loose sandy soils of juniper and ponderosa pine woodlands and disturbed places, usually at elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet.

Blepharipappus had almost no medicinal or culinary use. Prepared with acorns and willow, blepharipappus was used by some indigenous people to treat bloody diarrhea.

These blepharipappus were photographed growing along Ash Creek (Lassen County CA).

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