Malacothrix glabrata, Smooth Desertdandelion
Scientific Name: Malacothrix glabrata
Common Name: Smooth Desertdandelion
Also Called: Desert Dandelion, Smooth Desert Dandelion
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Malacothrix californica var. glabrata)
Size: Up to 16 inches or so.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; plants ascending to erect; mostly glabrous, some glaucous; plants branched above the base.
Leaves: Green; basal leaves are not fleshy; leaves pinnately divided, mostly oblong-oblanceolate.
Flower Color: Yellow, pale yellow, sometimes white; flowers mostly solitary in cyme-like clusters; flowers with long peduncles; outer phyllaries lanceolate to linear; glabrous or short white-hairy; ligules of outermost flowers generally exserted.
Flowering Season: March to June; March to July in California.
Elevation: Below 6,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Common and abundant on plains and mesas; coarse soils, open areas or among shrubs in desert habitats, often in creosote bush communities, foothill woodlands.
Recorded Range: Smooth Desertdandelion is found mostly in the southwestern United States; AZ, CA, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT. This species is also native to Baja California and Mexico.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Malacothrix glabrata.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 8 species of genus, California has 16 species, Nevada has 6 species, New Mexico has 4 species, Texas has 2 species, Utah has 5 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
Comments: Malacothrix glabrata is the desert's version of the common dandelion growing in the Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran deserts. Its color is actually a pale yellow and the vegetative parts are mostly smooth or glabrous. With heavy winter rains this species is found in large carpets of yellow flowers.
Malacothrix glabrata has been used for medicinal purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.