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Robert E. Preston & Lauramay T. Dempster, except as noted

Annual to tree, vine. Leaf: generally opposite (whorled), entire; stipules generally fused to stem, adjacent pairs occasionally fused, or occasionally leaf-like and appearing like whorled leaves. Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, spike, cluster, or flower 1, generally terminal and ± axillary. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx ± 4(5)-lobed, occasionally 0 (Galium, Crucianella) or 6 (Sherardia); corolla generally radial, 4(5)-lobed; stamens epipetalous, alternate corolla lobes, generally included; ovary generally inferior, chambers generally 2 or 4, style 1(2). Fruit: drupe, berry, or 2 or 4 nutlets [capsule].
± 500 genera, 6000 species: worldwide, especially tropics; many cultivated, including Coffea, coffee; Cinchona, quinine; many ornamental. [Robbrecht & Manen 2006 Syst & Geogr Plant 76:85–146] Diodia teres Walter doubtfully in California. —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Unabridged references: [Dempster 1979 Fl California 4(2):1–47]

Key to Rubiaceae


1 sp. (Wm. Sherard, Dillenius' patron, John Ray's friend, 1659–1728)

S. arvensis L. FIELD MADDER
Annual, matted. Stem: decumbent, generally many-branched at base, 7–16 cm, 4-angled. Leaf: whorls of 5–6; 4–13 mm, lanceolate or oblanceolate, margin thick, tip acute or weak-spined, stipules leaf-like. Inflorescence: head, axillary, involucred; flowers sessile, generally 2–3, generally included in involucre; involucral bracts ± free, ± = leaves, generally < peduncle. Flower: calyx lobes 6, persistent, tips ± dissected; corolla salverform, generally 4-lobed, pink or lavender; styles 2, thread-like, fused proximally. Fruit: 2 nutlets; hairs soft.
2n=22. Pastures, disturbed areas, grassland, dry meadows, oak woodland; 10–1160 m. North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range Foothills, n Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges, South Coast; to Idaho, Arizona, eastern United States; native to Mediterranean. Mar–Jul [Online Interchange]

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

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click for enlargement Sherardia arvensis
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Donald Myrick © 1999 California Academy of Sciences

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Sherardia arvensis 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.