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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.



James D. Ackerman & Robert Lauri

Plant 10–130 cm; tubers, 1–4 cm, generally ± round; stem bracts lance-linear to ovate. Leaf: at flower 0 or ± basal, not in rosette, 2–5, linear to widely oblanceolate. Inflorescence: spike or raceme, generally cylindric, flowers not in spiral; flower bract generally < flower. Flower: fragrance, when present, generally at night; perianth white to green; sepals generally 2–5 mm, 1–2 mm wide, 1-veined, upper pointed forward to erect, lower free, spreading to reflexed; lateral petals ± = sepals, spreading to erect, lip spurred, pointed forward, down (or upcurved); column < lip; ovary inferior, generally twisted 180°. Fruit: ascending to erect.
10 species: North America. (Charles V. Piper, American botanist, 1867–1926) [Ackerman & Morgan 2002 FNANM 26:571–577] Some species difficult to separate.
Unabridged references: [Morgan & Ackerman 1990 Lindleyana 5: 205–211]

Key to Piperia

1. Spur 6–18 mm (2.5–9 mm in Piperia cooperi, keyed only under 1')

2. Spur ± straight, perpendicular to inflorescence axis; upper sepal pointed forward; stem generally < 3 mm diam ..... P. transversa

2' Spur ± curved, parallel to inflorescence axis; upper sepal ascending to erect to curved back; stem generally > 3 mm diam

3. Sepals white with dark green midvein ..... P. elegans subsp. elegans

3' Perianth green to yellow-green

4. Lip deltate-ovate; lower sepals spreading ..... P. michaelii

4' Lip narrowly lanceolate or lance-deltate; lower sepals ± reflexed

5. Lateral petals ± sickle-shaped, 2 mm wide at base, 2–3 × as long ..... P. elongata

5' Lateral petals linear, 1 mm wide at base, 4–5 × as long ..... P. leptopetala (2)

1' Spur 1–6(9) mm

6. Perianth mostly white or white-margined on upper sepal, lateral petals, mostly white on lower sepals, lip; lip pointed down toward spur

7. Inflorescence generally ± 1-sided; stem bracts < 6; lip ± ovate, ± obtuse ..... P. candida

7' Inflorescence ± not 1-sided; stem bracts > 6; lip ± ovate or not, ± acute

8. Lateral petals ovate to lance-oblong, white margins ± equal; stem base swollen toward tuber; fragrance at night ..... P. elegans subsp. decurtata

8' Lateral petals sickle-shaped, white margins unequal, outer much wider than inner; stem base narrowed toward tuber; fragrance in daytime ..... P. yadonii

6' Perianth green; lip ± straight to strongly upcurved above middle

9. Spur < lip, 1–2.5 mm; leaves grass-like, erect, 3–10(19) mm wide ..... P. colemanii

9' Spur >= lip, 2–9 mm; leaves not grass-like, prostrate to spreading, (5)10–40 mm wide

10. Lateral petals linear, 4–5 × longer than wide; spur tapered; fragrance lemony or otherwise pleasant but not honey-like ..... P. leptopetala (2)

10' Lateral petals lanceolate to deltate-ovate, < 3.5 × longer than wide; spur cylindric, blunt; fragrance musky, soapy, or honey-like

11. Inflorescence axis <= peduncle; lip deltate-ovate; fragrance honey-like; stem long-tapered toward tuber ..... P. cooperi

11' Inflorescence axis generally > peduncle; lip broadly ovate to lance-elliptic; fragrance musky, soapy, or honey-like; stem uniform or swollen toward tuber ..... P. unalascensis


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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