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Gordon C. Tucker & Evanielis U. Grissom

Annual, short-lived perennial herb, in or near water; roots fibrous, from taproot or not, generally from lower leaf axils also. Stem: generally soft. Leaf: simple, opposite, ± 4-ranked; stipules scarious. Inflorescence: flowers in upper axils, 1 or few in clusters. Flower: small, inconspicuous, radial, bisexual; sepals, petals 2–5, equal in number, generally free; ovary spheric, styles 3–5, short. Fruit: capsule, septicidal, ± spheric, ovoid, or depressed-ovoid, walls thin; chambers 2–5, each several to many-seeded. Seed: small; surface net-like or glossy.
2 genera, 50 species: ± worldwide. [Yang & Tucker 2007 Fl China 13:55–56] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Tucker 1986 J Arnold Arbor 67:471–483]

Key to Elatinaceae

Stem: Erect underwater, ± prostrate on wet ground, branched or not; base not woody. Leaf: petiole < 1/3 blade, flat, ± blade-like; blades narrow-elliptic to ± round, ± entire, bases wedge-shaped to ± round, tips round. Inflorescence: flowers 1(2) per node. Flower: sepals, petals wide-elliptic, membranous; sepals pale green; petals pale green-white; stamens (1) 3, 6, 8, filaments 1/2 × to ± equal petals, anthers wide-ovoid; styles 3–4. Fruit: ± spheric or depressed-ovoid; chambers 3–4, each 3–15-seeded; pedicel generally ± 0. Seed: ± visible through fruit wall, elliptic, straight or curved, brown to yellow-brown; surface net-like due to ridges between ± linear rows of pits.
± 25 species: worldwide. (Greek: fir tree, from a European species that suggests such a plant in miniature) At least 20× magnification needed for pits on seeds.

Key to Elatine

E. ambigua Wight
Stem: ± erect, 1–8 cm. Leaf: lanceolate to oblong-elliptic; petiole 1/4 blade. Inflorescence: flowers 1 per node. Flower: sepals 3, ± equal; petals 3, equal, ± > sepals. Fruit: chambers 3; pedicel turned to 1 side, 1/4–1/2 fruit length. Seed: narrow-oblong, curved 15–30°; pits ± 20 per row, wider than long.
Vernal pools, wet places; 10–100 m. Great Central Valley; native to eastern and southern Asia. Jun–Aug [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Given habitats, elevation > 100 m unlikely.

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Next taxon: Elatine brachysperma


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 31 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Elatine, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 31 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Elatine ambigua Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.