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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

Annual (perennial herb), generally strigose to spreading-hairy; fibrous- to taprooted, staining red dye present or not. Stem: branched at base or above, < 5 dm. Leaf: cauline or basal and cauline, 0.5–10 cm, generally smaller tipward, linear to oblanceolate. Inflorescence: raceme- or spike-like cymes, coiled in bud, generally elongate in fruit; bracts 0–many. Flower: calyx lobes fused below middle, 2–10 mm in fruit; corolla rotate to funnel-shaped or cylindric, white or white with yellow area, tube generally ± yellow inside, limb 1–12 mm diam, appendages prominent to minute, white to yellow. Fruit: nutlets generally 4, ± ovate (triangular to ± lanceolate), rarely on narrow stalk or short peg, variously roughened, abaxially generally with central ridge, lateral ridges, cross-ribs, generally tubercled, occasionally prickly or bristly; adaxially keeled above attachment scar, scar on side generally near middle to base, sometimes on bottom or oblique (on angle between side and bottom), generally raised.
± 65 species: temperate western North America, western South America, northeastern Asia, Australia. (Greek: sideways pit, from position of nutlet attachment scar) Nutlet characters in key generally best for 3 nutlets farthest from stem; yellow on corolla changes to white after pollination.
Unabridged references: [Horn 2000 Ph.D. Dissertation Univ Munich; Johnston 1932 Contr Arnold Arboretum 3:1–102]
Unabridged note: Fully mature nutlets needed for identification; in many species nutlet closest to stem often more firmly attached, larger, differently textured, and with completely different attachment scar than other 3; nutlet characters used in key focus on 3 more loosely attached nutlets. Intergradation common in some species groups; reticulate speciation in genus; sect. Allocarya often treated as separate genus; many species need study. Corolla size can diminish markedly during flower period. Yellow corolla appendages and, if present, contrasting yellow corolla centers, change to white after successful pollination.

Key to Plagiobothrys

P. cognatus (Greene) I.M. Johnst. COGNATE POPCORNFLOWER
Annual, strigose. Stem: prostrate to occasionally ascending, 0.5–2+ dm. Leaf: cauline, lower 2–7 cm. Inflorescence: bracts below middle to ± throughout. Flower: calyx 2–4 mm, strigose to spreading-hairy; corolla limb 1–2 mm diam. Fruit: nutlet 1.2–1.8 mm, ± flat, oblong-ovate, asymmetric, dull or shiny, brown; abaxial ridge low, short, near tip, lateral ridges obscure, cross-ribs few, low, scattered, interspaces wide, tubercled or papillate-dentate and scabrous-bristled; adaxial ridge beyond middle, generally folded to 1 side below; scar oblique, triangular, solid, generally ± flat, not sunken.
Moist places in meadows, sagebrush flats, forests; 1050–2520 m. Klamath Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, n&c Sierra Nevada, Great Basin Floristic Province; to eastern Washington, Rocky Mountains, Arizona. [Plagiobothrys scouleri (Hook. & Arn.) I.M. Johnst.nvar. penicillatus (Greene) Cronquist, in part] May–Aug [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Collections western of the Sierran-Cascade, if verified, may indicate introductions there. Generally prostrate regardless of environmental factors, including elevation, while Plagiobothrys hispidulus, Plagiobothrys cusickii generally prostrate to decumbent at upper end of their elevation ranges. With Plagiobothrys bracteatus, Plagiobothrys cusickii, Plagiobothrys hispidulus (Oregon, Washington to Rocky Mountains, Canada), and others forming a widespread, highly variable polyploid complex of sometimes poorly defined taxa displaying degrees of morphologic, ecologic, and geographic separation in need of further study, although California material sorts into described species with a minimum of difficulty. At this time inclusion of this suite of variable, ± self-pollinating taxa with the coastal Pacific Northwestern California populations of Plagiobothrys scouleri is a matter of convenience without sound systematic basis and needing study.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 25 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Plagiobothrys, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 25 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Plagiobothrys cognatus 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.