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Achyrachaena mollis (Blow wives)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Achyrachaena mollis

Achyrachaena mollis Schauer

Blow Wives

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: ACMO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This annual herb grows to approximately one foot in height on a strong, straight stem. Atop the stem is a large, rounded bud which opens into a spherical cluster of flowers. The actual flowers are small and yellow and nearly invisible behind the showy fruits, which extend shiny bright white scales which look like long rectangular flower petals. These silky white scales catch the wind, which allows the single-seeded fruits to be dispersed.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


Native Habitat: The plant is common in low-elevation hills and grasslands all over California, and into southern Oregon and northern Baja California.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Achyrachaena mollis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Achyrachaena mollis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Achyrachaena mollis


Record Modified: 2022-09-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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