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Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted

Annual to perennial herb [shrub, tree], generally from taproot. Stem: generally ± scapose, generally ribbed, hollow. Leaf: basal and generally cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, occasionally compound. Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present in involucres or 0; bractlets generally present in "involucels". Flower: many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally ± ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a ± conic, persistent projection or platform at tip subtending 2 free styles. Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves (= mericarps), separating from each other but generally ± persistent to central axis; ribs on halves 5, 2 marginal, 3 to back; oil tubes 1–several per interval between ribs.
300 genera, 3000 species: ± worldwide, especially temperate; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); Bupleurum lancifolium Hornem. is historical garden weed; some toxic (e.g., Conium). Mature fruit generally critical in identification, shape given in outline. Hydrocotyle moved to Araliaceae. Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill is a waif. —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.

Key to Apiaceae


Robert E. Preston, Michael S. Park & Lincoln Constance

Biennial, perennial herb; taprooted, roots clustered, or rhizomes; generally glabrous, ± spiny. Stem: decumbent to erect, generally branched. Leaf: basal rosette, cauline; petioles present or 0; blades linear to triangular-ovate or round, generally pinnately or palmately lobed or dissected (entire), generally sharp-toothed or spine-tipped, net-veined; juvenile leaves linear, segmented. Inflorescence: heads 1–many in cymes, racemes [panicles]; bracts each generally subtend 1 flower, with scarious membrane enclosing ovary, outer > to >> inner, spiny or not on margins and abaxially; rays, pedicels 0. Flower: sepals spine-tipped, generally persistent; petals oblong to ovate or oblanceolate, white to blue or purple, tip long; anthers, styles generally green, occasionally blue; ovary tip projection 0. Fruit: obconic to obovate or narrowly elliptic [round], compressed or not, densely scaly; scales at fruit tip and along juncture of carpels generally larger, longer than on face or base; ribs 0; oil tubes obscure; fruit central axis not obvious. Seed: face generally flat.
± 230 species: America, Eurasia, Australia, New Zealand. (Ancient Greek name used by Theophrastus) [Marsden & Simpson 1999 Madroño 46:61–64] California species variable, intergrading, need study.
Unabridged references: [Sheikh 1983 Madroño 30:93–101]

Key to Eryngium

E. aristulatum Jeps.
Generally glabrous, occasionally puberulent only on leaves or bracts. Stem: decumbent to erect, 1–9 dm, slender to stout, main stem branching 2–5 cm distal to rosette. Leaf: basal < branches; petiole 5–27 cm; blade 3–10 cm, < petiole, lanceolate to oblanceolate, coarsely sharp-serrate, irregularly cut, or lobed. Inflorescence: heads 5–12 mm, ± spheric, in cymes, glabrous, puberulent or rough; peduncle 0.5–1.5 cm; bracts 6–27 mm, linear to lance-linear, margins with 0–few spines proximal to middle, 0–few spines adaxially. Flower: sepals 1.7–2.8 mm, lanceolate to ovate, entire, tip-spine < 1 mm; petals oblanceolate, white; styles 1.5–3.5 mm, occasionally ± purple. Fruit: 1.5–2.5 mm, narrowly elliptic; scales dense, unequal, lanceolate to ovate, acuminate, minutely bristled. Highly variable. [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Eryngium aristulatum originally applied to slender, sprawling plants with heads <= 6 mm, fruit scales densely bristly; stout, erect plants with heads > 6 mm, fruits sparsely bristly may deserve recognition as Eryngium oblanceolatum J.M. Coult. & Rose; other varieties may warrant sp. rank.

E. aristulatum var. parishii (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Mathias & Constance SAN DIEGO BUTTON-CELERY
Stem: erect or spreading. Leaf: petiole 8–10 cm; blade 3–5 cm, < petiole, lanceolate to oblanceolate, generally pinnately lobed, occasionally coarsely sharp-serrate. Inflorescence: heads 5–9 mm; bracts 1–3 cm, outer bract margin spines 0–3 pairs, inner bract spines 0. Flower: sepals 1.5–2.5 mm, glabrous or puberulent. Fruit: 2 mm, obovate; persistent styles ± = calyx; scales awl-like, or ovate and acuminate.
2n=32. Vernal pools, marshes; < 705 m. s South Coast, Peninsular Ranges; Baja California. Now only on mesas near San Diego, Santa Rosa Plateau. May–Jun [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}
Unabridged synonyms: [Eryngium parishii J.M. Coult. & Rose; Eryngium jepsonii var. parishii (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Jeps.]

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

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click for enlargement Eryngium aristulatum var. parishii
See CalPhotos for additional images
2001 Greg Mason

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Eryngium aristulatum var. parishii 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.