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May 6, 2017

Field of Dreams - Anemopsis Californica

Anemopsis Californica California wildflower
This plant California wildflower (anemopsis californica) grows in areas that get wet in the winter and can continue to grow even when completely submerged in water for periods. I came across this cluster of plants on a recent walk here in Irvine. The plants are growing in a local wash that passes through Mason Park. Common names are "Yerba Mansa" and "Lizard Tail".

Deceptively, what looks to be a flower, are actually bracts surrounding an inflorescence as explained in this Wikipedia posting:

Yerba mansa is showy in spring when in bloom. The iconic white "flowers" (actually reduced inflorescences, or pseudanthia) are borne in early spring, and are surrounded by 4–9 large white bracts.[4]Similar to the sunflower family, what appears to be a single bloom is in reality a dense cluster of individually small flowers borne in an inflorescence. In this species the inflorescence is conical and has five to ten large white bracts beneath it, so that along with the tiny white florets, the whole structure is quite striking when it blooms in spring. The conical structure develops into a single, tough fruit that can be carried downstream to spread the tiny, pepper-like seeds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemopsis)


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