Western stickseed, flatspine stickseed
Lappula occidentalis, lappula marginata
All the western states
Dry, rocky places, disturbed ground, semi-deserts and woodland; up to 10,500 feet
Sessile, hairy, linear to narrowly lanceolate, up to 1.5 inches long
Lappula redowskii is found in all the western states, though is absent from the westernmost 200 miles or so of the three Pacific states. Plants produce a single stem, which branches a few times and has leaves at the base and at alternate intervals all the way to the tip. Leaves have a covering of soft hairs; appressed on the surfaces, spreading along the margins. Cauline leaves are angled upwards, held close to the stem.
Flowers are relatively small, less than 0.2 inches in diameter, and inconspicuous, colored white or (less often) pale blue. Calyces are deeply divided into five narrow lobes, and covered by straggly white hairs, as are the pedicels and the leaf-like bracts below each flower. The fruits consist of four fused nutlets, each armed with a single row of relatively long white prickles, barbed at the tip, and either fused at the base (var cupulata) or separate (var redowskii) - both varieties are common.