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Key to families | Table of families and genera

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Nancy J. Vivrette, John Bleck & Wayne R. Ferren, Jr., family description, key to genera

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, generally fleshy. Stem: underground to erect; root fibrous or tuberous. Leaf: generally simple, entire, flat, cylindric, 3-angled, or scale-like, generally cauline, generally opposite; stipules generally 0; blade papillate, pubescent, or generally glabrous, often glaucous. Inflorescence: cyme or 1-flowered, generally terminal. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium present; sepals (3)5(8), often unequal; petals 0 or many in several whorls, free or fused at base, linear; stamens 1–many, free or fused in groups, outer often petal-like; nectary a ring or separate glands; pistil 1, ovary superior to inferior, chambers 1–20, placentas generally parietal, styles 0–20. Fruit: berry, nut, or generally capsule, opening by flaps or circumscissile. Seed: 1–many per chamber, generally ovoid, arilled or not.
130 genera, 2500 species: generally subtropics, especially southern Africa; many cultivated. [Hartmann 2002 Illus Handbook Succulent Plants Aizoaceae A-E (Vol 1) and F-Z (Vol 2). Springer; Vivrette et al. 2003 FNANM 4:75–91] Galenia pubescens (Eckl. & Zeyh.) Druce, a waif, may be naturalizing in southern California. —Scientific Editors: Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Ferren et al. 1981 Madroño 28:80–85; Smith 1998 Mesembs of the World. Briza.]
Unabridged note: Disphyma crassifolium (L.) L. Bolus (ovary glands convex, minute-crenate; stigmas dense-plumose; fruit chambers 5; seeds ovate, ± smooth), of tribe Ruschieae, an historical waif in California; Lampranthus coccineus (Haw.) N.E. Br.: (ovary glands fused; fruit chambers 5; seeds pear-shaped, ± black, rough), of Ruschieae, an historical waif or urban weed in California.

Key to Aizoaceae


John Bleck

Perennial herb, shrub. Stem: prostrate [to erect]. Leaf: opposite, ± fused at base, ± triangular [to ± round] in ×-section, smooth, often glaucous. Inflorescence: 1-flowered (or cyme). Flower: < 5 cm diam; sepals 4–6, unequal; petals free; stamens many in several whorls; nectary a ring; ovary ± inferior, top flat, placentas parietal, styles 0, stigmas wide, feathery. Fruit: capsule, valves not separating; valve winged and with lids. Seed: flat, rough, with tubercles in rows.
15 species: southern Africa. (Greek: armhole, to bear)

M. crocea (Jacq.) Schwantes
Stem: stout, pale, corky; nodes often rooting. Leaf: on short shoots, 2.5–6 cm, 6 mm wide, ± linear-elliptic or -oblanceolate, pale glaucous-green, sometimes ± red. Inflorescence: pedicel 1–6 cm. Flower: calyx 0.8–1.5 cm diam, at least 2 sepals short, acuminate, with translucent margins; petals adaxially orange, abaxially purple, or entirely yellow or orange; outer stamens sterile, yellow, petal-like, inner erect, often hairy at base; ovary chambers 8(12), stigmas 8(12), feathery. Fruit: placental tubercles at outer margin of chamber, in adaxial seed pockets, 2-lobed. Seed: many, 1 mm, 0.8 mm wide, lenticular.
2n=27,36. Common. Margins of wetlands, coastal bluffs; < 50 m. Central Coast, South Coast, s Channel Islands; native to southern Africa. [Malephora purpureo-crocea (Haw.) Schwantes] ± invasive. Mar–Dec [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Although petals of most naturalized California plants have some purple (generally abaxially), some are entirely yellow or orange. California plants may be assignable to Malephora purpureo-crocea (Haw.) Schwantes, sometimes segregated.

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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. Malephora, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Malephora crocea 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.