Wavyleaf Microseris

In my previous post a golden paper wasp (“Golden Paper Wasp” on 12/02/16) was feeding on wavyleaf microseris nectar. Time to correct the fact that I never discussed wavyleaf microseris in my blog.

A native perennial belonging to the aster or sunflower family, wavyleaf microseris (Nothocalais troximoides)  is found in dry, somewhat sandy soil throughout grasslands and the sagebrush steppe of the West.

Wavyleaf microseris resembles the common dandelion. A single leafless stem between 2 and 15 inches in height arises from a mostly unbranched root. Like the dandelion wavyleaf microseris also has a milky sap. The leaves, located around the stem base, are narrow and strap-like with wavy edges. The flower buds, located singly at the end of the stems, are erect.

The flower head is a cluster of bright yellow ligulate flowers. Ligulate flowers are bisexual and have strap-shaped, one-lipped corollas (petals). The corollas are five toothed. The cluster of flowers is surrounded by lance-shaped bracts (phyllaries) that have some purple color on them.

The fruits are achenes (dry, hard, one-seeded) topped by pappus (bristles) that help with wind dissemination.

Wavyleaf microseris flowers close early in the day, particularly in hot weather, and therefore are often difficult to locate.

N. troximoides was previously named Microseris troximoides, a scientific name that remains common in the literature. False agoseris and sagebrush false dandelion are other colloquial names for wavyleaf microseris.

These wavyleaf microseris were growing in March (this is for you, Edith) in the meadow upstream from the Lower Campground on Ash Creek (Lassen County CA).

 

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