Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, generally bristly or sharply hairy
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves cauline, often with basal rosette, generally simple, alternate; lower sometimes opposite, entire
Inflorescence: cyme, generally elongate, panicle-, raceme- or spike-like, coiled in flower, generally uncoiled in fruit or flowers 1–2 per axil
Flowers generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 5, free or fused in lower half; corolla 5-lobed, generally salverform, top of tube generally appendaged, appendages 5, alternating with stamens, sometimes arching over tube; stamens 5, epipetalous; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed, style generally entire
Fruit: nutlets 1–4, smooth to variously roughened, sometimes prickly or bristled
Genera in family: ± 100 genera, ± 2000 species: tropical, temp, especially w North America, Medit; some cultivated (Borago, Echium, Myosotis, Symphytum ). Almost all genera may be TOXIC from alkaloids or accumulated nitrates
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae [Olmsted et al. 2000 Mol Phylog Evol 16:96–112]
Family description, key to genera by Timothy C. Messick.


Dieter H. Wilken and Ronald B. Kelley

Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, bristly to strigose
Leaves basal and cauline, linear to lanceolate, entire
Inflorescence: panicle, terminal; branches 3–many, ± spike-like
Flower radial to ± bilateral; calyx deeply lobed; corolla throat straight or slightly curved, lobes equal or unequal; stamens inserted below mid-tube, included or exserted; style exserted
Fruit: nutlet erect, short, ovoid, 3-angled, scar flat
Species in genus: 40 species: s Eurasia, Africa. Cult for ornamental
Etymology: (Greek: viper, from nutlet shape, which resembles viper's head)
Reference: [Bramwell 1972 Lagascalia 2:37–115]


E. candicans L.f.

Shrub 1–3 m
Leaf persistent, 6–20 cm, narrowly elliptic, densely strigose
Inflorescence 3–4 dm; branches many, spreading
Flower ± radial; calyx 3–5 mm; corolla 5–9 mm, blue to violet; stamens all exserted
Fruit: nutlets rough, fine-tubercled
Ecology: Open, dry slopes and bluffs
Elevation: < 300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast
Distribution outside California: native to Madeira, Canary Islands
Several species cultivated on CA coast, > 1 probably naturalized, some may be hybrids. Plants with pink to pale blue corollas and nutlets sharply tubercled are called E. strictum L.f. Plants 2–3 m with basal leaf rosette and ± cylindric inflorescence 1+ m are called E. pininana Webb & Berthel
Synonyms: E. fastuosum Aiton misapplied

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