Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • 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.



Elaine Joyal

Perennial from branched caudex, glabrous to coarsely hairy
Stem ± erect
Leaves cauline and generally basal, alternate, generally petioled (upper generally sessile)
Inflorescence: cyme, generally panicle- or raceme-like; bracts 0
Flower: calyx generally deeply lobed; corolla blue, generally abruptly expanded at throat, limb often ± cylindric or flared; filaments often ± flat, generally attached ± below obvious corolla appendages, anthers included
Fruit: nutlets generally wrinkled, each attached near or below middle to convex receptacle
Species in genus: ± 50 species: North America, temp Eurasia
Etymology: (F.C. Mertens, Germany, 1764–1831)
Reference: [Milek 1988 PhD U Northern Colorado; Strachan 1988 PhD U Montana]
Hybrids common; identification sometimes difficult, especially in MP.
Horticultural information: TRY; DFCLT.


M. bella Piper


Plant 2–5 dm, glabrous or sparsely hairy
Stem 1, slender, branched or not
Leaves: lateral veins conspicuous; basal not persisting; cauline petioled, strigose on upper surface
Inflorescence raceme-like, open
Flower: calyx strigose; corolla 6–10 mm, bright blue, not sharply divided into tube and limb, appendages ± 0; filaments slender, attached ± 1 mm above corolla base, ± > anthers; style included
Ecology: UNCOMMON. Wet meadows, under taller herbs
Elevation: 1500–2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: nw Klamath Ranges
Distribution outside California: to Oregon, Idaho, Montana
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for MERTENSIA%20bella being generated

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