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Duncan M. Porter

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, often armed; caudex present or not. Stem: branched; nodes often angled, swollen. Leaf: 1-compound, opposite, petioled; stipules persistent or not; leaflets entire. Inflorescence: flowers 1–2 in axils. Flower: bisexual; sepals 5, free, persistent or not; petals 5, free, generally spreading, twisted (corolla propeller-like) or not; stamens 10, appendaged on inside base or not; ovary superior, chambers (and lobes) 5–10, each with 1–several ovules, placentas axile. Fruit: capsule or splitting into 5–10 nutlets (= mericarps).
27 genera, ± 250 species: widespread especially in warm, dry regions; some cultivated (Guaiacum, lignum vitae; Tribulus, caltrop). [Sheahan & Chase 2000 Syst Bot 25:371–384] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Zygophyllaceae

Shrub, unarmed. Stem: branched, erect to prostrate, < 4 m, ± red becoming gray; nodes swollen, darker; hairs 0 or appressed. Leaf: stipules persistent; leaflets 2, fused at base. Inflorescence: flowers 1 in axils. Flower: sepals unequal, overlapping, deciduous; petals clawed, twisted, yellow, deciduous; stamen appendages bract-like, coarsely toothed. Fruit: 5-lobed, spheric, short-stalked, hairy, splitting into 5 hairy, 1-seeded nutlets.
5 species: warm, dry America. (J.A. Hernández de Larrea, Spanish bishop, 1730–1803) [Lia et al. 2001 Molec Phylogen Evol 21:309–320]
Unabridged etymology: (Juan Antonio Pérez Hernández de Larrea, Bishop of Valladolid, Spain, 1730–1803)

L. tridentata (DC.) Coville
Leaf: leaflets < 18 mm, < 8.5 mm wide, obliquely lanceolate to curved; awn between leaflets < 2 mm, ± deciduous. Flower: < 2.5 cm wide; sepals ovoid, appressed-hairy; petal claw ± brown; stamens > appendages; ovary hairs dense, straight, stiff, silvery (red-brown in fruit); style 4–6 mm, persistent on young fruit. Fruit: 4.5 mm wide (except hairs), hairs ± 2–4 mm, dense, spreading.
Common. Desert scrub; < 1000 m. East of Sierra Nevada, Desert, (uncommon Tehachapi Mountain Area, San Joaquin Valley, South Coast, San Jacinto Mountains); to southwestern Utah, Texas, central Mexico. [Larrea divaricata Cav. subsp. tridentata (DC.) Felger & C.H. Lowe; Larrea tridentata var. arenaria L.D. Benson] Closely related to southern South America Larrea divaricata. Clones may live > 11000 years, longest among extant plants; resinous odor characteristic; dominant shrub over vast areas of desert. Apr–May [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Larrea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015

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click for enlargement Larrea tridentata
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2006 Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Larrea tridentata 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.