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Key to families | Table of families and genera
This text currently parallels The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, Second Edition that is now available at the University of California Press.
Text appearing in blue on this page will not appear in the printed book; it will be displayed only on the Web. 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.
Annual, perennial herbs to shrub.
Stem: prostrate to erect, 8–16-ribbed or 4–5-angled with ribs 0 or obscure; glabrous or papillate-scabrous.
Leaf: cauline, alternate, petioled or not; ocrea generally jointed to leaf, generally cylindric proximally, generally translucent distally, white or silvery, 2-lobed, glabrous, disintegrating to fibers or completely; blade linear, lanceolate, elliptic, ovate, or subround, entire.
Inflorescence: axillary, terminal, generally spike-like; peduncle 0; pedicels present or 0, included in to exserted from bractlets; flowers 1–7(10).
Flower: bisexual, base not stalk-like; perianth not enlarging, bell- to urn-shaped, glabrous, white or green-white to pink; perianth parts 5, fused 3–60%, petal- or sepal-like, similar [or not], outer ± keeled or not, < to > inner, midveins generally a different shade or color than rest of perianth; stamens 3–8 (some staminodes or not), filaments or at least innermost free, wider at base, fused to perianth tube or not, anthers elliptic to oblong, white-yellow or generally pink to purple (orange-pink); styles (2)3, generally spreading, free or fused basally, stigmas 2–3, head-like.
Fruit: included or exserted, wings 0, angles (2)3, 1 face much narrower than other (1)2 or not; tip beak-like, yellow-green, brown, or black.
Seed: embryo curved.
± 65 species: ± worldwide; sect. Duravia restricted to w North America. (Greek: many, knee joint or seed, of uncertain meaning) [Costea 2005 Brittonia 57:1–27] Many species of sect. Polygonum with 2 kinds of fruit, differing in germination and morphology (summer fruit brown, ovate, tubercled to smooth; late-season fruit olive-green, lanceolate, smooth, 2–5 × > summer), but of little taxonomic importance. Mature, early-season plants with leaves, flowers, fruits needed for identification. Fls "closed" or "1/2-open" should be determined on herbarium specimens. Other taxa in TJM (1993) moved to Aconogonon, Bistorta, Fallopia, Persicaria.
Unabridged etymology: (Greek: poly, many, gony, knee joint, or gone, seed, of uncertain meaning)
1. St 8–16 ribbed; leaf venation pinnate, abaxial 2° veins obvious; anthers white-yellow (sect. Polygonum)
2. Distal leaves <= distal flowers; inflorescence axillary, terminal
3. Margins of perianth lobes pink (red or white); fruit 1.3–2.3 mm ..... P. argyrocoleon
3' Margins of perianth lobes green-yellow, yellow (white, pink); fruit (2.3)2.5–3.5 mm ..... P. ramosissimum subsp. ramosissimum (2)
2' Distal leaves > to >> distal flowers; inflorescence axillary
4. Fr smooth to rough
5. Fr tip beaked, edges strongly concave ..... [P. fowleri subsp. fowleri]
5' Fr tip not beaked, edges flat
6. Plant ± succulent; leaf red-tinged, blade tips rounded; ocrea funnel-shaped proximally; flowers 1/2-open ..... P. marinense
6' Plant not ± succulent; leaf light-yellow-green to -blue-green, blade tips acute to acuminate; ocrea cylindric proximally; flowers closed ..... P. ramosissimum
7. St leaves 1–2.5 × branch leaves, blue-green fresh, dark-brown or black dry; pedicels 1–2 mm ..... subsp. prolificum
7' St leaves 2.1–3.5(4.2) × branch leaves, generally yellow-green fresh or dry; pedicels 2.5–6 mm ..... subsp. ramosissimum (2)
4' Fr striate-tubercled ..... P. aviculare
8. Perianth tube 40–57% of length ..... subsp. depressum
8' Perianth tube (15)20–40% of length
9. Ocreae generally ± persistent distally, especially on upper leaves; perianth 0.9–1.3(1.5) × as long as wide, ± pouched at base ..... [subsp. buxiforme]]
9' Ocreae soon disintegrating distally to fibers or completely; perianth 1.5–2.9 × as long as wide, not pouched at base
10. Lf blade (6)10–20 mm wide, 2–4.5 × as long as wide; flowers 3–8, ± crowded distally; fruit included or ± exserted ..... subsp. aviculare
10' Lf blade 0.5–6.8(8) mm wide, (3.4)4.2–15(19) × as long as wide; flowers 1–3(5), not crowded distally; fruit generally exserted
11. Ocrea (3)4–8 mm, distally disintegrating ± completely, veins obscure; lateral veins of leaves visible but not raised adaxially ..... [subsp. neglectum]]
11' Ocrea (6)8–12 mm, distally disintegrating to fibers, veins obvious; lateral veins of leaves raised adaxially ..... [subsp. rurivagum]]
1' St ± angled, ribs 0 or obscure; leaf venation parallel, abaxial 2° veins obscure; anthers pink to purple (orange-pink) (sect. Duravia)
12. Perennial to shrub
13. St erect, wiry; perianth 2.6–3.2 mm ..... P. bolanderi
13' St prostrate or ascending, not wiry; perianth (4.5)5–10 mm
14. Ocreae 15–20 mm, distally ± persistent; leaf blade midrib coarsely scabrous to ciliate abaxially; coastal dunes, scrub ..... P. paronychia
14' Ocreae 3–5 mm, distally deciduous; leaf blade midrib glabrous abaxially; mtns ..... P. shastense
15. Ocrea not jointed to leaf
16. Ocreae entire or shallowly dentate distally ..... P. bidwelliae
16' Ocreae disintegrating to fibers distally
17. St 4–40 cm; plant with branches 0 or widely spreading ..... P. californicum
17' St 1.5–5(8) cm; plant cushion-like
18. Ocreae distally disintegrating to straight fibers; fruit 2–2.5 mm ..... P. hickmanii
18' Ocreae distally disintegrating to curly fibers; fruit 1.2–1.6 mm ..... P. parryi
15' Ocrea jointed to leaf
19. Tips of perianth lobes acute to acuminate; fruit light-yellow or light- or green- to dark-brown, smooth or net-like with longitudinal ridges ..... P. polygaloides
20. Infl bract margin green, if white then scarious border < 0.2 mm wide
21. Fr lanceolate, 2–2.5 mm; inflorescence bracts lance-elliptic, appressed, rigid; stamens 5–8 ..... subsp. esotericum (2)
21' Fr ovate, 1.3–1.7 mm; inflorescence bracts linear to lance-linear, ± spreading, not rigid; stamens 3 ..... subsp. kelloggii
20' Infl bract margin white, scarious border (0.2)0.25–1 mm wide
22. Infl ovate to cylindric, generally distal, rarely also continuous from stem bases; fruit 1.3–2.1 mm, lance-ovate to ovate ..... subsp. confertiflorum
22' Infl narrowly cylindric, continuous from stem bases; fruit 2–2.5 mm, lanceolate ..... subsp. esotericum (2)
19' Tips of perianth lobes rounded; fruit black, smooth to minute- and/or striate-tubercled
23. Pedicels reflexed
24. Ocrea 3–5 mm; fruit 2–2.5 mm ..... P. austiniae
24' Ocrea 5–12 mm; fruit 3–5 mm
25. Fl closed; pedicel 2–6 mm; perianth tube 20–28% of perianth length ..... P. douglasii
25' Fl open or half-open; pedicel 0.5–1 mm; perianth tube 9–17% of perianth length ..... P. majus
23' Pedicels erect to spreading
26. Ocrea 1–5 mm, distally entire to dentate-torn; perianth 1.8–2.5 mm; fruit 1.8–2.3 mm ..... P. minimum
26' Ocrea 4–12 mm, distally disintegrating to fibers; perianth (2.5)3–5 mm; fruit 2.5–5 mm
27. Infl dense, flowers crowded distally ..... P. spergulariiforme
27' Infl not dense, flowers not crowded distally ..... P. sawatchense
28. St, ocrea papillate-scabrous; leaf blade elliptic to oblong-elliptic, margin papillate-fine-dentate; flowers, or at least some, open ..... subsp. oblivium
28' St, ocrea glabrous; leaf blade lance-linear to narrowly oblong or oblanceolate, margin smooth, entire; flowers closed ..... subsp. sawatchense
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html [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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