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Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree, woody vine; juvenile, flower plants generally unlike. Stem: generally branched. Leaf: simple or compound, generally alternate; stipules ± fused to ± sheathing, petiole base or 0. Inflorescence: umbels 1 to panicled; bracts deciduous or not. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial, generally < 5 mm; sepals generally 5, fused at base, inconspicuous, persistent; petals generally 5, free, ± white to green, deciduous; stamens generally 5, generally alternate petals; ovary inferior, chambers 1–15, 1-ovuled, styles as many as chambers, free or fused, persistent. Fruit: berry or drupe, occasionally flat, dry.
47 genera, 1350 species: especially tropics, subtropics medicinal (e.g., Panax, ginseng; Aralia, sarsaparilla), ornamental (e.g., Aralia, Fatsia, Hedera, Polyscias). [Plunkett et al. 2004 Plant Syst Evol 245:1–39] —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.

Key to Araliaceae


Robert E. Preston & Lincoln Constance

Perennial herb, creeping or sprawling, glabrous [hairy]; rhizomes or stem rooting at nodes. Leaf: simple; petiole scarious-stipuled, not sheathing; blade ± round, peltate or not, entire to deeply lobed. Inflorescence: simple umbels, occasionally spikes, open or dense; bracts 0 or inconspicuous; pedicels 0–many, spreading. Flower: calyx lobes 0 or minute; petals obtuse or acute, ± green to ± yellow-white or ± purple, tip not incurved. Fruit: elliptic to round, very compressed side-to-side; ribs ± equal, thread-like, distinct or not; oil tubes 0, fruit wall with individual oil cells; fruit central axis not obvious. Seed: face flat to convex.
± 100 species: worldwide, especially southern hemisphere. (Greek: water cup, apparently from leaf shape) Hydrocotyle moschata G. Forst., Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, and Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides Lam. occasionally reported as lawn weeds.

Key to Hydrocotyle

H. verticillata Thunb.
Creeping. Leaf: petiole 0.5–25 cm, slender; blade 1–4 cm wide, round, peltate, shallowly, crenately, ± equally 8–13-lobed, or margin crenate. Inflorescence: peduncles 1.5–20 cm; spikes, occasionally forked, to 15-flowered, flowers whorled; pedicels 0 or short. Fruit: 1–3 mm, elliptic; ribs acute, evident.
Lake margins, ponds, slow-moving streams, canals, seeps, springs, marshes; < 1400 m. s Outer North Coast Ranges, n&c Sierra Nevada, s Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, Central Western California (except Inner South Coast Ranges), Southwestern California (except Channel Islands, San Jacinto Mountains), White and Inyo Mountains, Desert; to eastern North America, South America, Hawaii, southern Africa. [Hydrocotyle verticillata var. triradiata (A. Rich.) Fernald] Apr–Sep [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 24 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Hydrocotyle, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 24 2015

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click for enlargement Hydrocotyle verticillata
See CalPhotos for additional images
2005 Doreen L. Smith

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Hydrocotyle verticillata 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.