Sp. Pl. 2: 927. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 398. 1754.

Common names: Cottonseed micrope falzblume
Etymology: Greek micros, small, and pous, foot, perhaps alluding to tiny receptacles
Synonyms: Bombycilaena (de Candolle) Smoljaninova
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 19. Treatment on page 454. Mentioned on page 26, 28, 385, 386, 388, 450, 455.

Annuals, 1–50 cm. Stems 1, ± erect, or 2–5[–10], ascending to erect [prostrate]. Leaves cauline; mostly alternate [opposite]; blades narrowly oblanceolate to elliptic [spatulate]. Heads usually in glomerules of 2–5 in racemiform to paniculiform or distally ± dichasiform [axillary] arrays, sometimes borne singly. Involucres inconspicuous. Phyllaries 4–6, ± equal (unlike paleae, scarious, hyaline). Receptacles depressed-spheric or obovoid (heights 0.5–1.8 times diams.), glabrous. Pistillate paleae falling, erect to incurved; bodies with 5+ nerves (nerves ± parallel, obscure), obovoid, saccate most of lengths (trigonously [evenly] compressed, galeate, abaxially rounded [corniculate-crested], each enclosing a floret); wings ± erect (and lateral) or inflexed (and subapical). Staminate paleae 0 or 1–3, falling, erect in fruit (not enlarged), shorter than pistillate paleae; bodies linear-lanceolate to oblanceolate. Pistillate florets 4–12. Functionally staminate florets 2–5; corolla lobes 4–5, ± equal. Bisexual florets 0. Cypselae brown, monomorphic: ± trigonously [evenly] compressed, ± obovoid, curved, gibbous abaxially, faces glabrous, smooth, shiny, corolla scars ± lateral; pappi: pistillate 0, staminate 0 or of 1–5 bristles (hidden in heads). x = 14.


w United States, nw Mexico, s Europe, sw Asia, n Africa.


Species 5 (2 in the flora).

See discussion of Filagininae following the tribal description (p. 385).

Micropus species are found mostly in dry, open habitats of Mediterranean climates. In the flora, they are known only from west-draining portions of the Californian Floristic Province and the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

The two North American species constitute Micropus sect. Rhyncholepis Nuttall. Recent European workers (e.g., J. Holub 1998) have included sect. Rhyncholepis in Bombycilaena, leaving M. supinus Linnaeus in a monotypic genus. Based on phylogenetic data (J. D. Morefield 1992), that approach would include in Bombycilaena species ancestral to, and derived from ancestors of, Micropus. I maintain Micropus in its traditional sense here. Micropus and Psilocarphus appear to be monophyletic sister genera derived from near or within Stylocline. A malformed specimen from Monterey County, California, appears to be a sterile hybrid between M. californicus and a species of Psilocarphus.

Selected References



1 Pistillate paleae 8–12 in 2 series, bodies mainly chartaceous, cartilaginous medially, wings prominent, subapical, inflexed, plane to concave; cypselae: corolla scars in distal 1/4; receptacle heights 1.2–1.8 times diams.; staminate paleae mostly 1–3; staminate corolla lobes 4 (–5); staminate pappi of 1–5 bristles Micropus amphibolus
1 Pistillate paleae 4–7(–8) in 1 series, bodies cartilaginous to bony throughout, wings obscure, lateral, ± erect, involute; cypselae: corolla scars ± median; receptacle heights 0.5–0.8 times diams.; staminate paleae 0; staminate corolla lobes usually 5; staminate pappi 0 or of 1 bristle Micropus californicus
... more about "Micropus"
James D. Morefield +
Linnaeus +
Cottonseed +, micrope +  and falzblume +
w United States +, nw Mexico +, s Europe +, sw Asia +  and n Africa. +
Greek micros, small, and pous, foot, perhaps alluding to tiny receptacles +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
1753 +  and 1754 +
Bombycilaena +
Micropus +
Asteraceae tribe Gnaphalieae +