notes Detail of two flowers. The perianth lobes here are deeply bifid and there are 9 stamens (some stamens are still curled and unfurled in the two visible flowers of the image).
This monotypic genus is very interesting. The species description on Jim Reveal's web page indicates that each involucre has two flowers: a shorter, rose to pink bisexual flower on an elongate pedicel; and a longer, white, female flower with a yellow tube on a short pedicel. But I'm a bit confused about which of the two flowers is visible in the image posted here. I can only make out one flower per involucre, and it appears to have pollen-bearing anthers, so I guess it's the bisexual member of the involucre pair (though it does not appear to be 'rose to pink', or to have a visibly long pedicel). Perhaps the other flower, not being visible here, had already dropped? My earlier post here shows two flowers per involucre, but the top (perfect?) flower there appears to be in bud. The illustration from the Flora of North America shows both flowers being roughly equal in size and having anthers. At present, I can find no other images on the web clearly showing any smaller, rose-colored, pedicellate flowers.
Another interesting remark on Jim Reveal's web page is the following:
''Observations to date have not shown that the female-only flower ever produces an achene.''
Again, I find this a bit confusing since in the genus description it's stated (bold emphasis mine):
''Achenes trigonous, dark brown to black, dimorphic, those of the female flower short and included, those of the perfect flower elongated and exserted; embryo curved, in abundant endosperm.''
I'm thinking perhaps what is meant is that the female-only flower's achenes don't appear to be viable.
I was delighted to find this wonderful plant while looking out the window as I drove slowly through a section of obvious serpentine along the South Coast Ridge Rd in Big Sur. Later, when perusing CalPhotos posts, I recognized that the location here is exactly the same as shown in Chris Winchell's post here. It's also the location of this observation record by Brian & Eileen Keelan.