Whiteplume Wirelettuce

Stephanomeria exigua, the small wirelettuce, is a perennial or biennial plant native to the western United States. The whiteplume wirelettuce, which grows in the San Bernardino Mountains, is a subspecies of the wirelettuce, and is known scientifically as stephanomeria exigua ssp. coronaria.
The whiteplume wirelettuce  is considered to be among the most advanced and complex of the dicots, which are flowering plants that mature from two, rather than one, embryonic leave.
This plant generally blooms from mid-spring to late summer and produces small, light pink or light purple flowers which are raylike and perfectly symmetrical. The flower heads appear to be a single flower but upon closer spection are comprised of several flowers.
In central and southern California it has a glabrous or puberulent inflorescence, meaning its flowers or flower clusters are smooth or covered in soft, downy hair.
The whiteplume wirelettuce has appressed phyllaries, that is bracts that are very close together. A bract is a specialized leaf, different from foliage leaves, that serves to protect the plant’s reproductive structure. The fruit of the stephanomeria exigua that is protected encloses a seed in a hard shell that is roughly 2.3 millimeter to 3.1 millimeters in diameter.
Native to California, the stephanomeria exigua subspeicies coronaria is present in the San Bernardino Mountains, they are common on coastal sandy sites, grassland, forest openings, limestone, volcanic soils in sagebrush desert. The plant is present to elevations  as high as 8,600 feet. Subspecies of the whiteplume wirelettuce are present in Oregon, Southwestern Idaho and Nevada. They flower from May to November.
The pollinators for this plant consist of insects and the wind.
The genus name, Stephanomeria means “crown divided” and refers to the space between the ray flowers. The species name, “exigua”, means “impoverished, poor, meager,” referring to a milky latex that is exuded from the plant.
It is thought to be the parent species of Stephanomeria malheurensis (Malheur wirelettuce), an endangered plant species found only in southern Oregon.
From ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora, Calflora and Wikipedia

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