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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 to perennial herb, generally scapose.
Stem: decumbent to erect.
Leaf: generally basal, veins generally ± parallel.
Inflorescence: spike, generally dense; flowers few to many, cleistogamous or opening (both).
Flower: generally bisexual; calyx deeply 4-lobed, lobes generally overlapped, persistent, margin generally scarious; corolla radial or bilateral, salverform or cylindric, scarious, persistent in fruit, colorless except for lobe midribs or not, lobes 4, spreading to erect; stamens generally 4; ovules several per chamber, stigma long, hairy.
Fruit: circumscissile ± at or proximal to middle.
Seed: 2–many, gelatinous when wetted.
± 250 species: worldwide, especially temperate; some weedy, some (especially Plantago afra L., psyllium) cultivated for laxative. (Latin: sole of foot) [Meyers & Liston 2008 Int J Plant Sci 169:954–962] Plantago sempervirens Crantz, Plantago heterophylla Nutt., reported but not documented, possibly naturalized in CA.
Unabridged note: 2 species reported but not documented for CA: Plantago sempervirens Crantz, native to s Eur, Turkey, differs from Plantago arenaria in, e.g., habit (dwarf shrub vs annual), corolla tube (4–5 vs 3.5–4 mm), fruit (4–5 vs ± 2 mm); Plantago heterophylla Nutt., native to se North America, differs from Plantago elongata in, e.g., seed number, size [10–25(30), 0.5–0.8 mm vs (3)4–9(12), 1.5–2.5 mm], corolla lobe orientation (generally spreading vs generally 1 erect, 3 spreading or reflexed).
1. Lvs cauline; inflorescence axillary, spikes generally in cyme-like clusters at peduncle tip ..... P. arenaria
1' Lvs in basal rosette; inflorescence scapose, with 1 terminal spike
2. Corolla tube hairy; inner side of seed perpendicular to plane between cotyledons (subg. Coronopus)
3. Lf deeply pinnately lobed; calyx pressed against inflorescence axis (except on re-hydrated material); adaxial sepals each with 1 wide keel or wing on midrib ..... P. coronopus
3' Lf entire to sparsely dentate; calyx not pressed against inflorescence axis; adaxial sepals each with 0 or 1 narrow keel or wing on midrib ..... P. maritima
2' Corolla tube glabrous; inner side of seed perpendicular to plane between cotyledons to not
4. Seeds (1)2, inner side deep-concave (concavity generally ? 1/2 thickness of seed), perpendicular to plane between cotyledons (subg. Psyllium)
5. Peduncle grooved; abaxial sepals united > 1/2 from base, scarious parts united; green bract midrib not reaching tip ..... P. lanceolata
5' Peduncle not grooved; abaxial sepals united at base, scarious parts free; green bract midrib generally reaching tip
6. Hairs on peduncle generally ± spreading (ascending), each in diam generally << to = 2 × those on leaves ..... P. ovata
7. Corolla lobes generally without red-brown midrib; bract midrib green ..... var. fastigiata
7' Corolla lobes generally with prominent red-brown midrib; bract midrib brown ..... var. insularis
6' Hairs on peduncle nearly always ascending, each in diam ± 2 × those on leaves
8. Bract ovate to round, generally <= calyx, not exserted ..... P. erecta
8' Bract linear, 1–12 × calyx, some or all exserted
9. Bract generally 3–12 × calyx; corolla lobes generally obtuse; plant drying dark green, hairs 0 to ± present ..... P. aristata
9' Bract generally 1–2.5 × calyx; corolla lobes ± acute; plant drying light green, hairs ± dense ..... P. patagonica
4' Seeds 1–many, inner side flat, rarely convex or concave (concavity ? 1/2 thickness of seed), parallel to plane between cotyledons if seeds 1–2, parallel to oblique to perpendicular if seeds > 2 (subg. Plantago)
10. Perennial (rarely annual in Plantago major)
11. Lf widely elliptic to ± cordate, narrowed abruptly to petiole; flower bisexual; corolla lobes spreading to reflexed, ± 0.5 mm; plant with many fibrous roots ..... P. major
11' Lf oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic-ovate, tapered to wide petiole; flower unisexual or bisexual; corolla lobes spreading, ± 1 mm, or generally erect in pistillate flowers, spreading in staminate, ± 3 mm; plant with 1–2 taproots or many fibrous roots
12. Plant with 1–2 taproots; flower bisexual; corolla lobes spreading, ± 1 mm ..... P. eriopoda
12' Plant with many fibrous roots; flower unisexual; corolla lobes generally erect in pistillate flowers, spreading in staminate, ± 3 mm ..... P. subnuda
10' Annual, biennial
13. Lf widely oblanceolate to obovate or elliptic, tapered to petiole, entire to ± toothed
14. Abaxial sepals 2.7–3.6 mm, acuminate to mucronate; seeds 2.5–3 mm, generally red to red-brown, with concavity on inner side < 1/2 thickness of seed ..... P. rhodosperma
14' Abaxial sepals 1.5–2.4 mm, obtuse; seeds 1.5–2 mm, pale brown, with concavity on inner side ± 1/2 thickness of seed ..... P. virginica
13' Lf thread-like to narrowly oblanceolate, tapered to base, generally entire
15. Lf narrowly oblanceolate; corolla lobes ± 2–3 mm; inflorescence axis generally not visible between flowers; flowers unisexual, stamens 0 or 4 ..... P. truncata subsp. firma
15' Lf thread-like to linear; corolla lobes ± 0.5 mm; inflorescence axis generally at least partially visible between flowers; flowers bisexual, stamens 2
16. Corolla lobes generally 1 erect, 3 spreading or reflexed; seeds (3)4–9(12) per fruit, 1.5–2.5 mm; CA-FP (except CaRH, s SNF, SNH, Teh) ..... P. elongata
16' Corolla lobes generally erect; seeds 4 per fruit, 0.7–1.8 mm; SnJV, SCo (San Diego Co.) ..... P. pusilla
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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