Annuals, 10-200 cm (taproots relatively large). Stems single, branches divaricately or freely spreading, glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Leaves withered at flowering; basal blades linear to oblanceolate, runcinate, 3-10 cm, margins pinnately lobed; cauline much reduced, bractlike . Heads borne singly or clustered along branches or in paniculiform arrays. Peduncles 2-10 mm (along branches), or 10-40 mm (in paniculiform arrays). Calyculi of appressed or reflexed bractlets (glabrous, pubescent, or stipitate-glandular). Involucres 5-7 mm (glabrous, puberulent, or densely stipitate-glandular). Florets 5-11. Cypselae light tan to dark brown, 2.1-6.8 mm, faces smooth to tuberculate, grooved; pappi of 5-24 tan or white bristles (falling or widened bases persistent, bases connate in groups of 2-4 distal portions breaking off), plumose on distal 50-85%. 2n = 16.
FNA 2006, Jepson 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Herbaceous annuals (rarely perennials or biennials), to 60 cm tall, stems slender, diffusely branching and erect to ascending, herbage glabrous or sparsely glandular or pubescent above, plants with relatively large taproots and milky sap. Leaves: Alternate, lower leaves pinnatifid into linear divisions, the upper leaves much reduced, bractlike, and all sessile, withered at flowering. Flowers: Heads ligulate, the florets 5-11, the ligules 6-8 mm, white to pink or rose, involucres 5-7 mm high, these glabrous, puberulent, or densely stipitate-glandular, row of bracts around outer calyx of appressed or reflexed bractlets, these glabrous, pubescent, or stipitate-glandular, phyllaries 5, heads many, these borne singly, clustered along branches, or paniculate at branch tips. Fruits: Achenes columnar, light tan to dark brown, 5-angled, with a double row of tubercles below the angles. Pappus of 5-18 tan or white plumose bristles in a single series, the bristles plumose above the middle. Ecology: Found on plains, mesas, hillsides, desert scrub, dry disturbed ground, and among shrubs, from 2,000-8,000 ft (610-2438 m); flowering April-September. Distribution: Wyoming to New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Ethnobotany: The plant was used as a diuretic for venereal disease and for measles. Etymology: Stephanomeria is derived from Greek stephane, wreath or crown and meros, division, while exigua means little or weak or poor in growth. Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher 2011