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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

Perennial herb, unarmed; caudex woody. Stem: branched, fleshy. Leaf: stipules ± leaf-like or membranous; leaflets 2 [> 2], free, fleshy. Inflorescence: flowers 1–2 in axils. Flower: sepals often unequal, overlapping, deciduous or not; petals ± erect, white, yellow, or orange, base sometimes orange or red. Fruit: capsule, cylindric to spheric, 5-angled, septicidal. Seed: 1–few per chamber.
± 70 species: Eurasia, southern Africa, Australia. (Greek: yoke leaf, from sometimes oblique leaflets)

Z. fabago L.
Stem: erect, glabrous, < 1 m. Leaf: leaflets < 4.5 cm, 3 cm wide, obliquely ovate; awn between leaflets 1 mm, ± persistent. Flower: 6–7 mm; sepals ± = petals; stamens exserted, appendages < stamens, ± linear, divided at tip. Fruit: 25–35 mm, oblong-cylindric; style persistent, thread-like, < 7 mm; pedicel reflexed.
Uncommon. Disturbed areas; < 1000 m. s Outer North Coast Ranges, San Joaquin Valley, Desert; to Kansas, Texas, also in New York, Pennsylvania, native to Mediterranean, central Asia. [Zygophyllum fabago var. brachycarpum Boiss.] Forms large colonies; flower buds have been used in place of capers. Summer {Noxious weed} [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. Zygophyllum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015

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click for enlargement Zygophyllum fabago
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2001 CDFA

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Zygophyllum fabago 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.