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Artemisia Leaved Chaenactis
Chaenactis artemisiifolia

About Artemisia Leaved Chaenactis (Chaenactis artemisiifolia) Chaenactis artemisiifolia is a species in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family known by the common name White Pincushion. It is native from the coast to the coastal mountain ranges of southern California and Baja California. This is a robust annual herb producing an erect stem occasionally as tall as two meters but usually under one meter in height. There is a basal rosette of leaves and sparse leaves along the stem. The leaves are up to about 15 centimeters or more in length and they are divided into many lobes which are further subdivided into smaller, lacy lobes. The leaves and stem are lightly woolly; older plants have thinner coats of hair. The stem branches about midway up and bears several flower heads in a wide open flower cluster. Each head is a hairy hemispheric cup of sharp-tipped phyllaries which can be up to a centimeter long. The flower heads are discoid, containing only disc florets, but some of them are flat enough to resemble ray florets or petals. The florets are white to pink. The anthers and curly styles protrude far from each floret, making the flower head look like a pincushion. The fruit is a compressed achene about half a centimeter long with no pappus. This species is not frequently seen in gardens but is useful for restoration projects.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
1 - 6.6 ft (0.3 - 2 m)

Flower Color
White, Pink

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Openings in chaparral or coastal sage scrub, disturbed places


Elevation ?
4' - 6112'

Annual Precip. ?
3.8" - 43.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.95"

Coldest Month ?
37.6° F - 55.7° F

Hottest Month ?
63.1° F - 86.5° F

Humidity ?
0.99 vpd - 37.94 vpd

Soil Description

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Companion Plants
Use with other annuals, perennials and shrubs of coastal southern California, such as Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis), Sweetbush (Bebbia juncea), Buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.), California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Lupine (Lupinus sp.), Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri or trichocalyx), Sage (Salvia sp.), and various cactus species

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Rarely Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
By seed

Common uses
Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
White Pincushion

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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