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Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera; treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley, except as noted

Annual to shrub or small tree, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, generally simple, generally alternate. Inflorescence: generally cymes, or panicle-, raceme-, head-, or spike-like, generally coiled in flower (often described as scorpioid), generally elongating in fruit, or flowers 1–2 per axil. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals (4)5(10), fused at least at base, or free; corolla (4)5(10)-lobed, salverform, funnel-shaped, rotate, or bell-shaped, generally without scales at tube base, with 0 or 5 appendages at tube top, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary generally superior, entire to 4-lobed, style 1(2), entire or 2-lobed or -branched. Fruit: valvate or circumscissile capsule or nutlets 1–4, free (fused), smooth to roughened, prickly or bristly or not.
± 120 genera, ± 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum, Wigandia). Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. [Olmstead et al. 2000 Molec Phylogen Evol 16:96–112] Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. Wigandia urens added, as naturalized. —Scientific Editors: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.

Key to Boraginaceae


Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse

Perennial herb, scapose; root caudex-like. Leaf: in basal rosette, spreading or ascending; blade tapered to petiole, generally entire, generally ciliate. Inflorescence: flowers 1; peduncle erect or spreading, 1–10 cm, slender. Flower: calyx lobes 2–9 mm, generally not alike, glabrous to hairy, ciliate; corolla scales 0, tube generally dense-hairy inside, throat generally yellow, lobes glabrous to hairy, white or ± blue, generally tinged or marked with lavender or purple; stamens included, generally unequal, filament base widened; ovary hairy, chamber 1, style 1, 2–5 mm, stigmas 2. Fruit: capsule, 5–11 mm, ovoid, hairy. Seed: many, ovoid, angular, red-brown, honeycombed or pitted.
2 species: western United States, northern Mexico. (Greek: evening or western centaur)

Key to Hesperochiron

H. pumilus (Griseb.) Porter
Rhizomes generally slender. Leaf: generally 2–10, 1–7 cm, < 2 cm wide, linear-oblong to oblanceolate or oblong. Inflorescence: flowers generally 1–8 per plant. Flower: corolla 5–15 mm, limb 7–30 mm wide, lobes 3–11 mm, rounded.
n=8. Wet meadows, slopes, flats; 450–3000 m. Klamath Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Western Transverse Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province (except White and Inyo Mountains), n Mojave Desert (Death Valley); to Washington, Montana, Utah, Arizona. [Villarsia pumila Griseb.; Hesperochiron pumilus var. ciliatus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea ciliata (Greene) Greene; Hesperochiron ciliatus Greene; Hesperochiron pumilus f. fulcratus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea fulcrata Greene; Hesperochiron pumilus f. hirtellus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea hirtella Greene; Hesperochiron pumilus f. nervosus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea nervosa Greene; Hesperochiron pumilus var. vestitus Brand; Hesperochiron pumilus f. villosulus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea villosula Greene; Hesperochiron campanulatus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea campanulata Greene] Apr–Jul [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Hesperochiron, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015

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click for enlargement Hesperochiron pumilus
See CalPhotos for additional images
2005 Christopher L. Christie

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Hesperochiron pumilus 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.