Filaree covers a species of low growing winter annual that is common in parts of the United States. They are considered to be an annual and are sometimes biannual. Filaree are a broad-leaf plant. The Whitestem Filaree can be found throughout the state of California except for desert areas. They grow at a height up to 4900 feet.
When they are seedlings the plants have hairs that are considered either non-glandular or glandular.
The habitat of this plant includes fields, agricultural areas and other areas that have been disturbed, pastures, roadside areas, grasslands, vegetable croplands, and range lands.
Whitestem filaree is prone to soybean dwarf viruses and the bestwestern yellows and often is a host for the beet leaf-hopper.
The Cotyledons which are the seed leaves have five asymmetric (non balanced) lobes. They are completely divided with individual lobes that are tapered to a point. The long stalk leaves range from deeply lobed to being fully divided. A rosette is formed close to the ground on the young leaf plants.
When fully grown the plants can be as high as forty inches; and spread to cover any open ground areas. The rosette leaves have stalks and are made up of leaflets that are egg shaped with shallow lobed or toothed edges. Looking like rosette leaves the stem leaves are so short-stalked that the stalks are almost nonexistent. Both the Whitestem and Redstem filaree have rosettes that are completely separated into leaflets. Broadleaf filaree are lobed but are not completely separated into leaflets like their stem leaves. The Redstem filaree has more deeply cut leaflets than those of the Whitstem filaree. Having a reddish colored stem has given the Redstem filaree its name. The lower part of the stem has a coarse hairy covering.
The filaree blooms from February through the month of May in most cases. The flowering stalk will have clusters of flowers at the top with anywhere from five to thirteen flowers in each cluster. The flowers have five petals that range from pink to reddish lavender in color.
The fruit of the filaree plants are long, thin, and have a beaklike appearance. When matured the fruit will separate into five parts that each have tails that will curl with maturity and then dry up. The filaree reproduce by seeds. The seeds are small, brown and hairy, having a long thin style that curls several times in the bottom of the flower. The curls or coils as they are sometimes called, tighten and loosen, which drills the seeds into the ground. This is quite interesting to see.