General Description: It is a winter annual that grows up to 3 feet tall. Seeds germinate in the fall and winter when conditions are favorable. Warmer spring temperatures cause the plants to grow flowering stems that bloom in May and June and go to seed in June and July.
Flower Description: Flower heads clustered 1 to 5 on each stem, each one is thin and vase-shaped with a few rows of tapering bracts at its base. Flower head have 3 to 5 flowers and each head generally produces one seed. Flowers are lavender to purple.
Leaf Description: Basal leaves are rounded and typically not lobed, 0.4 to 1.2 inches (1 to 3 cm) long and often dying back early. Stem leaves alternate and lobed or doubly lobed, appearing lace-like with short, stiff bristles. Stem leaves up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long.
Stem Description: Stems are rigid and have short stiff spines. Also, stems are leafy up to where it openly branches at the top.
Fruit/Seed Description: Seeds are barrel-shaped and 0.12 to 0.16 inches (3 to 4 mm) long. Brown-black bristles (pappus) occur on one end spreading widely.
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