Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae
The flowers, typicall 5cm across, are a lovely sulphur yellow, sometimes with a black centre, and they are borne solitarily on solid stems that sometimes divide. There are many layers of notched ray florets on this compound flower, the outer layer being flushed with red (pictured below).
Its long, beaked fruit is an achene with a feathery red pappus.
The basal leaves are slightly toothed, form a rosette, and are deeply lobed. A few smaller cauline leaves clasp the stems.
The plants are perennial and can grow up to 50cm in height, but 20 to 40cm is more typical.
This is a wildflower of field margins, track edges and roadside verges as well as disturbed wasteland.
Urospermum dalechampii is common and widespread throughout much of southern Europe and parts of North Africa.
Smooth Golden Fleece has an extended flowering season and can be seen in bloom from late March or early April right through until August.
The genus name Urospermum comes from the Greek ouros, meaning a tail, plus spermus, meaning a seed. The specific epithet dalechampii honours the 16th century French physician and botanist Jacques Daléchamps (1513 - 1588).
The flowers shown on this page were photographed in southern France during May.
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