Annuals, 1-30 cm (often forming rounded bushes); herbage spicy-scented. Stems ascending, glabrous or puberulent. Leaves linear, 10-60 × 1-2 mm, margins with 1-3 pairs of setae, faces glabrous (dotted on margins with round to oval oil-glands 0.3-0.5 mm). Heads in congested or open, cymiform arrays. Peduncles 3-40 mm. Involucres campanulate to cylindric. Phyllaries distinct, linear, 3-8 × 0.5-1.7 mm (dotted with 1-5 subterminal oil-glands plus 2-5 pairs of submarginal oil-glands). Ray florets (7-)8(-10); corollas 3-8 mm. Disc florets 6-34; corollas 2-5.5 mm (weakly 2-lipped, glabrous or glandular-puberulent). Cypselae 2-5.5 mm, strigillose to short-pilose (hair tips curled, bulbous); ray pappi usually coroniform, rarely of 1+ awns or bristles 1-4 mm; disc pappi usually of 16-24, subplumose bristles 1.5-4 mm, rarely coroniform.
Pectispapposa generally flowers following summer monsoon rains in the desert of southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In favorable years, it becomes an aspect dominant, coloring wide areas of the desert with its bright yellow heads.
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Yellowish green annual with slender, spreading-ascending or procumbent, dichotomously branched, glabrous stems 10-30 cm. Leaves: Filiform or narrowly linear, 1-6 cm long, 1-2 mm wide or less, with 2-5 pairs of bristles near base and conspicuous elliptical marginal glands. Flowers: Heads clustered in leafy cymes; peduncles 1-3 cm long, usually shorter than subtending leaves; involucres turbinate, 3-5 mm broad, 4.5-6 mm high; bracts 7-9, narrowly linear and strongly involute, strongly keeled and gibbous at base, obtuse and scarious-margined at apex, irregularly dotted with 3-7 conspicuous glands, concentrated at apex; 7-9 ray flowers with yellow ligules 1.5-2 mm wide, 4-6 mm long; disk flowers 10-15 , corollas slender, 4-5 mm long. Fruits: Cypselae linear-clavate, black, 4-5 mm long, sparsely stiff hairs, pappus of disk cypselae of 12-20 sparsely short-plumose or barbellate bristles 3-4 mm long or rarely reduced to a crown. Ecology: Found on sandy or gravelly soils, plains and mesas below 6,000 ft (1829 m); flowers June-October. Distribution: CA and NV to NM; south to n MEX Notes: Notably, the Pectis have C4 photosynthetic pathways which accounts for why they inhabit such hot, dry sites. Ethnobotany: Used as a spice, a dye, a laxative, as eye drops for snowblindness, to the seeds being parched, ground and eaten. Etymology: Pectis is from the Greek pecteo, to comb; papposa is from the Latin for -with pappus.- Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010