Annuals or perennials, 1-20 cm (caudices slender, woody); herbage lemon-scented or spicy-scented. Stems erect or ascending, glabrous or puberulent. Leaves linear, 10-45 × 1-3 mm, margins with 2-5 pairs of bristles 1-2 mm, faces glabrous (dotted with oil-glands 0.2-0.7 mm). Heads in congested, cymiform arrays. Peduncles 1-20 mm. Involucres narrowly campanulate or cylindric. Phyllaries distinct, linear or narrowly oblanceolate, 2.5-5.5 × 0.5-1 mm (dotted subterminally with 1 or 2 swollen oil-glands and submarginally with 2-5 pairs of smaller oil-glands). Ray florets 8; corollas 3-5(-7) mm (glandular puberulent or nearly glabrous). Disc florets (7-)10-20; corollas 2.5-3.5 mm (sometimes weakly 2-lipped, glandular puberulent). Cypselae 2.5-4 mm, strigillose (hair tips straight, forked); pappi coroniform and/or of 0-7 scabrid awns or bristles 1-2 mm.
Heil et al 2013, Allred and Ivey 2012, MacDougall 1973, FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1960
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb-herb General: Small lemon-scented annual herbs, up to 20 cm tall but often only 2-5 cm high, bushy or single stemmed; stems erect, dichotimously branched, densely leafy at branch tips. Leaves: Opposite and sessile, the blades narrow and gland-dotted, 1-4 cm long by 1-3 mm wide. Flowers: Flower heads yellow and radiate, clustered at branch tips in leafy cymes; involucres turbinate, 4-5 mm high, the bracts (phyllaries) linear, gland-dotted, and arranged in a single series of 8-10 bracts; ray florets yellow, equal in number to the phyllaries, the laminae (ray petals) 3-4 mm long; disc florets yellow, the corollas 4-5 lobed. Fruits: Achenes 3-4 mm long, sparsely silky-villous; topped with a crown of tiny scales 0.1-0.3 mm high, these sometimes awn-tipped. Each ray achene is partly wrapped by its adjacent phyllary. Ecology: Found in dry, sandy or gravelly plains, hills, and mesas, in pinyon-juniper woodland and desert shrublands, from 3,500-7,000 ft (1067-2134 m); flowers July to September. Distribution: NE to TX, west to UT, AZ, and MEX Notes: This distinctly scented annual herb emerges in response to monsoon rains in the southwest. It is the most common annual Pectis found above the Mogollon Rim in Arizona and throughout most of New Mexico. It appears similar to its low desert congener, Pectis papposa, which is most abundant throughout the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts and is also found in extreme southern New Mexico and west Texas; pay attention to the pappus attached to the tops of the seeds-- P. papposa has a pappus of plumose bristles, while P. angustifolia lacks the tuft of bristles and instead has a crown of minute scales. Other annual Pectis species are less likely to be confused with P, angustifolia-- P. prostrata and P. cylindrica have no lemon scent and have 5 or fewer ray florets per flower head (P. angustifolia has 8-10 ray florets). P. filipes is an annual but the species has a more diffuse growth form and the inflorescence is not leafy as it is in P. angustifolia. Ethnobotany: Used for stomach ailments, and as an emetic. Also eaten raw or cooked, used as a seasoning, and to make a tea. Etymology: Pectis means "comb" in latin, and refers to the marginal cilia of the petioles; angustifolia means nearrow-leaf. Editor: AHazelton 2017