Inflorescence

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In the most general sense, an inflorescence is the complete set of all flowers or flower heads on a given plant; i.e., an "overall inflorescence".  However, many species within the Composite family regularly produce plants with numerous branches, in which each branch can be viewed as a separate,  (component) inflorescence, which includes all flower heads along that branch.

The two most common types of inflorescences for species in the Composite family are corymbs and panicles.  For species that regularly produce corymb-like arrangements of flower heads, the branch inflorescences are also corymb-like: broadest at the summit, becoming narrower below.  For species that regularly produce panicle-like arrangements of flower heads, the branch inflorescences tend to be either panicle-like or raceme-like (but never corymb-like).  Panicle-like inflorescences are often broadest toward the base, becoming narrower toward the summit; i.e.,   pyramidal, conical, "peaked".

Finally, a single flower head can be considered as an inflorescence.  It is a very compact inflorescence containing the set of florets that share space on a receptacle.

The three images below show how this is expressed in one specimen of Doellingeria umbellata, which produces corymb-like arrangements of flower heads.

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Above:  overall inflorescence of Doellingeria umbellata (corymb-like).

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Above:  several branch inflorescences of the same plant, each of which is corymb-like, flat- or rounded at the summit of each branch.

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Above:  one flower head, as an inflorescence, which contains a unique set of ray and disc florets.

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