Asteraceae Malacothrix sonchoides

Malacothrix sonchoides

Malacothrix sonchoides

Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family

Annual or winter annual herbs from taproots with milky juice; stems (6 to 37 cm) tall

Leaves: basal and alternate; simple, mostly pinnatifid; 0.28” to 4.8” (0.7 to 12 cm) long, (1 to 28 mm) wide

Flowers: 7 to 12 yellow ray flowers, 0.28” to 0.48” (7 to 12 mm) long; no disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite)

Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects

Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell

Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: Delicate Arch trail, Fiery Furnace

Other: The genus name, “Malacothrix”, is from the Greek “malakos” meaning “soft” and “thrix” meaning “hair” referring to the soft hairs of the pappus and the woolliness of the young plant. The species name, “sonchoides”, means "like Sonchus” which is the Greek name for sowthistle, a common name of the plant.

This family is the most advanced and complex of the dicots. The family is rich in oils and resins and is found in every part of the world, but is infrequent in the tropical rainforest. Aquatic or semi-aquatic species are also uncommon.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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