Annuals, 4-36 cm. Stems 1-5, erect or ascending, branched mostly distally, glabrous. Cauline leaves: proximal oblanceolate to lance-linear, sometimes pinnately lobed, not fleshy, ultimate margins usually dentate, faces glabrous; distal reduced (margins 2-4-dentate near bases or entire). Calyculi of 5-12, lance-deltate to lanceolate bractlets, hyaline margins 0.05-0.2 mm. Involucres narrowly campanulate, 4-8+ × 2-4+ mm. Phyllaries 8-15+ in 2+ series, lance-linear to linear, ± equal, hyaline margins 0.05-0.3 mm wide, abaxial faces glabrous. Receptacles not bristly. Florets 19-67); corollas pale yellow, 4-7.4 mm; outer ligules exserted 1-3 mm. Cypselae fusiform or prismatic, 1.2-1.8 mm, ribs extending to apices, 5 more prominent than others; persistent pappi of 15-24+, needlelike teeth plus 1 bristle. Pollen 70-100% 3-porate, mean 25 µm. 2n = 14.
Flowering Mar-Jun. Cleared areas (burns, slides), usually chaparral, rarely margins of creosote bush shrub; 20-1500 m; Calif.; Mexico (Baja California); introduced, South America (Argentina, Chile).
Malacothrix clevelandii grows in northwestern California, Sierra Nevada foothills, San Joaquin Valley, central western California, and northern Channel Islands (Santa Rosa Island).
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Diffusely branched, slender-stemmed annual 10-60 cm tall with numerous heads paniculately arranged at tips of branches; herbage glabrous throughout, stems and lower leaves often reddish-tinged. Leaves: Basal leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, 2-7 cm long to 1.5-2 cm wide, lobed to pinnatifid or less commonly with linear segments; cauline leaves remote, linear to lanceolate, entire or nearly so, gradually reduced upward to linear bracts 5-10 mm long. Flowers: Involucres cylindro-campanulate, 4-8 mm tall, 2-5 mm broad, bracts linear, .4-.7 mm wide, equal and scarcely imbricated, green with purple-dotted tips, margins narrow, scarious; basal bracts small bracts around the calyx, ovate, 1-2 mm long; ligules pale yellow or rarely white, exceeding involucre only 1-3 mm. Fruits: Cypselae linear-fusiform, truncate at apex, 1.4-1.8 mm long, finely 15-ribbed, 5 ribs more prominent that rest, buff to pale brown, truncate crown, bearing 14-17 minute white, scarious teeth; deciduous pappus bristles silvery white, 5-6 mm long; flowers f Ecology: Found along arroyos and streams, on slopes and grassy hillsides; 2,500-4,500 ft (762-1372 m). Notes: Told apart from Malacothrix fendleri by the pale yellow petal color. Ethnobotany: Unknown for this species, but other species in this genera have use as food and medicine. Etymology: Malacothrix is from malakos, soft and thrix, hair, while clevelandii is named after Daniel Cleveland (1838-1929) a botanical collector. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010