VASCULAR PLANTS OF UPPER NEWPORT BAY
Plant Characteristics: Stiff erect annual 5-20 (-30) dm. tall, puberulent; stems much branched; basal rosette
gen. withered at fl., cauline lvs. small, linear, often 0 at fl; flowering heads solitary or clustered on short, stiffly spreading
branches; involucre 6-9 mm.; outer phyllaries reflexed << inner; fls 5-8; ligules 9-11 mm. pale pink to white; fr. 1.8-2.4
mm.; sides 5, each narrowly grooved; pappus bristles plumose 80-85% of length, white.
Habitat: Common late summer annual in deserted fields and disturbed places below 6000 ft.; from Coastal Strand and
Coastal Sage Scrub to Yellow Pine F.; widely distributed, cismontane; to Ore., Nev., L. Calif., Channel Ids. Blooms July-
October. Upper Bay plants are found growing in open grassy areas with sand as the predominant soil type. pH=7.3.
Nearby growth includes Heterotheca grandiflora, Melilotus alba, Brassica sp. and Poaceae spp.
Name: Greek, stephane, wreath and meros, division; of uncertain application. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 230). Diegensis
refers to the plant having first been found in San Diego County. (my comment). Latin, virgatus, twiggy. (Jaeger 281).
Greek, pleura, a rib and Greek, karpos, fruit. (Jaeger 201,47). Pleurocarpa, ribbed fruit.
General Information: Occasional in the study area. The plant has a milky sap. Photographed at 23rd Street and
along Back Bay Dr. between the Newporter Inn and San Joaquin Hills Dr. In 2006, it came to my attention that most of all
of the populations of S. virgata ssp virgata and ssp. pleurocarpa in Orange County are actually S. diegensis. An
examination of my dried specimen showed the grooved seeds of S. diegensis. (my comments). Delfina Cuero, a
Kumeyaay or Southern Diegueno Indian, made the following comments about Stephanomeria virgata in her
autobiography: "Gather the whole plant, it can be dried and saved. Boil the roots and drink liquid to get rid of intestinal
worms. From Mexicans, we learned to boil whole plant to clean stomach after a hangover." (Shipek 97). A dozen or
more species of western North America. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 230). Munz, Flora of So. Calif. does not list S.
Text Ref: Beauchamp 115; Dale 74; Hickman, Ed. 348; Munz, Calif. Flora 1295; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 231; Roberts, 2008 Checklist 97.
Photo Ref: June 4 83 # 2; July 3 83 # 22; Sept 2 83 # 10A; Oct-Nov 83 # 6; April-May 94 # 14,15; Sept. 95 # 25,26,28.
Identity: by R. De Ruff.
First Found: June 1983. Lat. 33° 38’ 34.4” N; Long. 117° 53’ 29.4” W.
Computer Ref: Plant Data 197.
Plant Specimen: With R. L. De Ruff plant specimens.
Last Edit: 1/11/10.
© 2010 ROBERT DE RUFF