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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.



Gary D. Wallace, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree. Stem: bark often peeling distinctively. Leaf: simple or 0, generally cauline, alternate, opposite (whorled), evergreen or deciduous, often leathery, petioled or not; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers 1, terminal or axillary, generally bracted; pedicel often with 2 bractlets. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial, bell-shaped, cylindric, or urn-shaped; sepals generally (0)4–5, generally free; petals generally (0)4–5, free or fused; stamens (2–5)8–10, free, filaments rarely appendaged, anthers dehiscing by pores or slits, awns 0 or 2(4), seemingly abaxial, reduced or elongate, generally curved; nectary generally present at ovary base, generally disk-like; ovary superior or inferior, chambers generally 1–5, placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1–many per chamber, style 1, stigma head- to funnel-like or lobed. Fruit: capsule, drupe, berry. Seed: generally many, winged or not.
± 100 genera, 3000 species: generally worldwide except deserts; some cultivated, especially Arbutus, Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium. [Kron et al. 2002 Bot Rev 68:335–423] Monophyletic only if Empetraceae included, as treated here. Ledum included in Rhododendron. Non-green plants obtain nutrition from green plants through fungal intermediates. —Scientific Editors: Gary D. Wallace, Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Ericaceae

1. Plant non-green; leaves 0 or scale-like

2. Ovary chamber 1 or appearing > 1 by intrusion of parietal placentas; fruit a berry; fruit axis fleshy, not long-persisting

3. Petals fused; anthers elongate, dehiscing by separate slits ..... HEMITOMES

3' Petals free; anthers elongate or not, dehiscing by separate or fused slits

4. Corolla densely hairy inside, ± glabrous outside; anthers not elongate; stigma < 5 mm wide, ± funnel-shaped, subtended by ring of hairs ..... PITYOPUS

4' Corolla glabrous; anthers elongate; stigma 1.5–2.5 mm wide, crown-like, not subtended by hairs ..... PLEURICOSPORA

2' Ovary chambers 4–5; fruit a capsule; fruit axis fibrous, generally persisting long after seed dispersal

5. Petals free; fruit dehiscing tip to base; seed fusiform

6. Inflorescence emerging from ground erect, with red or maroon stripes; pedicel not recurved when anthers open; sepals 0(2–4), petals 5; stamens exserted ..... ALLOTROPA

6' Inflorescence emerging from ground nodding, without red or maroon stripes; pedicel recurved to spreading when anthers open; sepals, petals generally 5; stamens included ..... MONOTROPA

5' Petals fused; fruit dehiscing base to tip or indehiscent; seed ovate, winged or not

7. Plant ± pink, in age brown; inflorescence 1.5–17 dm, axis < 1.5 cm wide just below lowest flower; corolla 6–9 mm, cream to ± yellow; anthers awned; fruit dehiscing; seed winged ..... PTEROSPORA

7' Plant ± red; inflorescence generally 1.5–3 dm, axis generally > 1 cm wide just below lowest flower; corolla 12–18 mm, red; anthers unawned; fruit indehiscent; seed unwinged ..... SARCODES

1' Plant green; leaves leaf-like (except some Pyrola)

8. Plant not or ± woody; leaves basal or cauline but on short stems, alternate to whorled; petals free

9. Flowers 1 or to 10 in ± head- or umbel-like raceme; fruit dehiscing tip to base

10. Flowers in raceme; style in depression, stout; stigma not crown-like; nectary present; leaves cauline, leathery, elliptic to oblanceolate ..... CHIMAPHILA

10' Flowers 1; style not or in slight depression, slender; stigma crown-like; nectary 0; leaves ± basal, not leathery, ovate to obovate ..... MONESES

9' Flowers few–many in elongate raceme; fruit dehiscing base to tip

11. Inflorescence 1-sided, arched, in fruit ± erect; petal tubercles 2, basal, adaxial; nectary present ..... ORTHILIA

11' Inflorescence not 1-sided, ± erect; petal tubercles 0; nectary 0 ..... PYROLA

8' Plant woody; leaves cauline, alternate (opposite, whorled); petals 0, free and reduced, or generally fused, or calyx, corolla ± indistinguishable, perianth parts 3–6, ± free

12. Flowers reduced, wind-pollinated, unisexual ..... EMPETRUM

12' Flowers not reduced, not wind-pollinated, bisexual

13. Ovary inferior; fruit a berry ..... VACCINIUM

13' Ovary 1/2-inferior or generally superior; fruit a berry, drupe, or capsule

14. Fruit generally ± enclosed by fleshy calyx; leaves evergreen ..... GAULTHERIA

14' Fruit not enclosed by calyx; leaves evergreen or deciduous

15. Corolla generally persistent in fruit; leaf needle-like, generally < 1 mm wide ..... ERICA

15' Corolla not persistent in fruit; leaf linear or wider, generally not needle-like, generally > 1 mm wide

16. Fruit a drupe or berry; plants generally of low elevations, dry habitats (except Arbutus, some Arctostaphylos)

17. Leaves opposite or whorled, ± linear; fruit a drupe, stones fused, each generally 2-seeded ..... ORNITHOSTAPHYLOS

17' Leaves alternate (except some Xylococcus), wider than linear; fruit a berry or drupe, stones free or fused, each 1–few-seeded

18. Ovary, fruit smooth, not papillate; fruit not juicy; inflorescence generally dense

19. Leaf margin generally flat; filament swollen at base; fruit flesh generally mealy, occasionally 0, stones free to all fused ..... ARCTOSTAPHYLOS

19' Leaf margin rolled under; filament not swollen at base; fruit flesh dry, stones fused ..... XYLOCOCCUS

18' Ovary, fruit papillate; fruit ± juicy; inflorescence generally open

20. Fruit a berry; seeds few per chamber ..... ARBUTUS

20' Fruit a drupe; seeds 1 per stone ..... COMAROSTAPHYLIS

16' Fruit a capsule; plants generally of high elevations or moist habitats (some Rhododendron, Menziesia from low elevations, moist habitats)

21. Anthers awned or not; fruit loculicidal

22. Leaves boat-shaped, opposite, 2–5 mm, appressed; flowers 1 in upper leaf axils; anthers awns elongate ..... CASSIOPE

22' Leaves not boat-shaped, alternate, 15–80 mm, spreading; flowers in racemes; anthers awns 0 or vestigial ..... LEUCOTHOE

21' Anthers unawned; fruit septicidal

23. Fruit dehiscing base to tip; petals fused at base or generally free ..... RHODODENDRON (2)

23' Fruit dehiscing tip to base; petals ± fused

24. Corolla generally rotate to cup-shaped, with pockets holding anthers until dehiscence ..... KALMIA

24' Corolla generally not cup-shaped to rotate, without pockets

25. Leaf < 5 mm wide, margin strongly rolled under, abaxial surface < 1/3 visible; bud scales 0 ..... PHYLLODOCE

25' Leaf > 5 mm wide, margin not strongly rolled under, abaxial surface > 1/3 visible (except sometimes in bud); buds scales deciduous or ± persistent

26. Corolla urn-shaped to ± spheric, 6–7(13) mm; leaves deciduous ..... MENZIESIA

26' Corolla widely bell- to funnel-shaped, 10–50 mm; leaves deciduous or evergreen ..... RHODODENDRON (2)


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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