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California Plant Families

Written by Glenn Keator and Illustrations by Margaret J. Steunenberg

California Plant Families book cover    California Plant Families book back cover

See California Plant Families by Glenn Keator
the West of the Sierran Crest and Deserts,
Illustrations by Margaret J. Steunenberg.


Glenn Keator
Glenn Keator

Glenn Keator is a botanist, teacher, and writer specializing in California native plants. He teaches at several venues around the San Francisco Bay Area. He has written several books, including two other Uiversity of California Press titles: Introduction to Trees of the San Francisco Bay Region, and Designing California Native Gardens (co-authored with Alrie Middlebrook).
Margaret Steunenberg
Margaret J. Steunenberg

Margaret J. Steunenberg is a natural science illustrator, and the focus of her work is education. In addition to this publication, her artwork has appeared in Bay Nature magazine, Plants of the East Bay Parks (Roberts Rinehart), and Today's Botanical Artists (Schiffer Publishing). Her work has been in juried exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the New York State Museum. She has been honored with a Gold Award from the San Francisco Society of Illustrators.
Below are drawing examples of identification
featuring key characteristics

The warm glow of autumn light is reflected in the season's bounty -- acorns, seed pods, fruits, vegetables, brightly colored leaves, and autumn flowers.

Hypochaeris radicata (hairy cat's ear)
Ligulate flower head showing all ray flowers Hypochaeris radicata (hairy cat's ear) Side view of flower head showing several rows of bracts or phyllaries

Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Cirsium vulgare(bull thistle)
Branch with spines, leaf, and flower head
Sketchbook 02a
Microscopic detail of single pappus hair showing featherlike or plumose pattern
Sketchbook 02b
Flower detail showing inferior ovary, hairy pappus, stamens, and stigma

Cirsium occidentale (cobweb thistle)
Cirsium occidentale(cobweb thistle)
Flower head detail showing spiny bracts in several rows and numerous, narrow, tubular disc flowers
Astereae (Aster tribe)
a. Erigeron glaucus (seaside daisy)

Astereae (Aster Tribe)
Top left: Cut-away view of flower head showinghairy bracts, disc flowers on receptable, and peripheral ray flowers. Bottom left: Detail of disc flower showing ingerior ovary, hairy pappus, tubular petals, and 2-forked style. Right: Ray flower.

b. Agoseris sp. (native dandelion)
Cirsium occidentale(cobweb thistle)
Fruiting head showing ovaries, long beaks, and hairy pappus for wind dispersal.
Astereae (Aster Tribe)
Left: Ray flower detail showing ligule, cone of stamens, and 2 parted stigma.
Center: Leaf detail.
Flower head showing rows of bracts and numerous ray flowers.

Wyethia heleniodes (woolly mule's ear)
Wyethia heleniodes (woolly mule's ear)
Disc flower showing hairy inferior ovary, scalelike pappus, petal tube and petal lobes, stamens, and 2 stigmas.

(Tarweed subtribe of sunflower tribe)
Left: Flower head showing even row of bracts and ray flowers with a dark patterned base.
Right: Ray flower detail showing bract surrounding ovary, 2 stigmas, and 3-lobed ligule.

a. Opuntia chlorotica (Mojave prickly-pear).
Mojave prickly-pear
b. Opuntia erinacea (old man prickly-pear)
old man prickly-pear
Flower showing spines on the inferior ovary (top)
Cut-away longitudinal view of flower showing numerous stamens

c. Carnegiea gigantea (saguaro).
d. Ferocactus cylindraceus (barrel cactus)
barrel cactus

(sneezeweed subtribe of sunflower tribe)
h. Eriophyllum confertiflorum (golden yarrow).
golden yarrow
Microscopic view of disc flower showing crown of scaly pappus (left). Cut-away view of disc flower (right).
i. Helenium puberulum (sneezeweed)
Insert: Disc flower detail. Flower head showing buttonlike arrangement of disc flowers and small, turned down ray flowers. Detail of single disc flower (bottom right).
j. Chaenactis glabriuscula (yellow pincushions).
yellow pincushions
Fruiting head showing long tapered achenes and starlike pappus scales.

Aesculus californica (California buckeye)
California buckeye
Palmately compound leaves and panicle of flowers.

California buckeye
Left: Mature fruit (and 2 aborted fruits)     Center: Detail of cut-away flower.     Right: Seed.

k. Anaphalis margaritacea (pearly everlasting).
pearly everlasting
Leafy branch with flowers (left). Flower head detail showing papery phyllaries and disc flowers (right).
i. Senecio flaccidus var. douglasii (bush senecio)
bush senecio
Flower head showing even row of phyllaries, and ray and disc flowers.

a. Arctostaphylos manzanita (common manzanita).
common manzanita
Left: Cut-away longitudinal view of flower showing stamen details (some stamens have been removed for clarity). Right: Leaves and inflorescence.
b. Rhododendron occidentale (western azalea)
western azalea
Leaves and cluster of flowers.
western azalea (Enlarged pistil)
Left: Enlarged pistil and some stamens. Right: Detail of stamen showing pores at end of anther.
Chimaphila umbellata (pipsisewa)
Face view of flower.
Sarcodes sanguinea (snowplant)snowplant
Habit of flowring plant.

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