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Duncan M. Porter

Perennial herb [shrub], fleshy. Stem: branched. Leaf: alternate, simple to irregularly divided, occasionally toothed or lobed; stipules minute or leaf-like. Inflorescence: flowers 1 [or in cymes]. Flower: radial, bisexual; sepals 3–5; petals 3–5; stamens (10)15; ovary superior, chambers 2–6, each with [1,6] many ovules, style at tip or basal. Fruit: capsule [berry, drupe].
4 genera, 16 species: generally ± arid regions, northern hemisphere, Australia. [The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 2003 Bot J Linn Soc 141:399–436] Based on molecular, anatomical, and morphological evidence, The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2003) indicates that Peganum and Nitraria, sometimes placed in Zygophyllaceae, are widely separated from Zygophyllaceae sensu stricto, and probably should be placed in a different family, in a different order (Sapindales) than Zygophyllaceae (Zygophyllales). —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Plant < 1 m; branches, leaves dense. Stem: from woody rhizome, herbaceous. Leaf: alternate, deeply, irregularly 2-ternately or ternately-pinnately lobed, fleshy; lobes 2–6 cm, linear, acute to abruptly soft pointed; stipules 1–4 mm, bristle- or leaf-like, deciduous or not. Flower: sepals 4–5, leaf-like, entire to irregularly, deeply pinnately lobed, persistent, linear or lobes linear, acute to abruptly soft pointed; petals 4–5, white to yellow; stamens 12–15, filaments linear, bases dilated; ovary spheric, chambers (2)3(4), each many-ovuled. Fruit: capsule ± spheric, leathery, irregularly loculicidal; chambers (2)3(4); style persisting as beak > fruit body. Seed: many per chamber, triangular, dark, curved.
3 species: deserts, North America, northern Africa, Spain; to China; Mongolia. (Name used by Theophrastus for "rues")

To 3 dm high. Stem: prostrate to ascending, to 9 dm, rooting, hairy to glabrous. Leaf: ± hairy to glabrous. Flower: petals < 17 mm, 1/2 as wide, ± 1/2 pedicel, generally < sepals, oblong-elliptic, white to yellow; disk cup-shaped. Fruit: to 15 mm diam, < pedicel, << sepals.
Roadsides, abandoned fields, degraded rangeland; 60–730 m. Mojave Desert (nw San Bernardino, se Kern cos.); to Washington, Montana, Nevada, Texas; native Mediterranean to central Asia. Aggressive, noxious weed under eradication by California Department of Food and Agriculture; reportedly poisonous to stock. Seeds are source of dye "Turkey-red". Apr–Nov {Noxious weed} [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Peganum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Peganum harmala 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.