Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
For up-to-date information about California vascular plants, visit 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. oblongifolia (Nutt.) G. Don


Plant generally < 4 dm, glabrous to strigose
Stems many, firmly attached to stout, deep, sometimes fleshy caudex
Leaves: basal generally well developed; cauline generally 2.5–7 X longer than wide, lateral veins obscure, lower leaves generally petioled
Inflorescence ± panicle-like, generally dense
Flower: corolla 10–20 mm, tube generally 1.3–2 X longer than limb, sometimes with ring of hairs inside; filaments wide, ± = anthers; style ± included
Ecology: Open slopes, drier meadows, generally spring-moist places, especially with sagebrush
Elevation: 1000–3000 m.
Bioregional distribution: High Cascade Range, n&c High Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau, n East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Wyoming, Colorado
Polyploid complex (2n=24,48); CA vars. sometimes found together in Wrn.


var. oblongifolia

Stem generally > 20 cm
Leaf hairy on upper surface, glabrous on lower
Flower: corolla tube hairy inside
Chromosomes: 2n=48
Ecology: Habitats and elev. generally of sp.
Bioregional distribution: Modoc Plateau (especially Warner Mountains)
Distribution outside California: to e Washington, Wyoming, Utah
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for MERTENSIA%20oblongifolia%20var.%20oblongifolia being generated
YOU CAN HELP US make sure that our distributional information is correct and current. If you know that a plant occurs in a wild, reproducing state in a Jepson bioregion NOT highlighted on the map, please contact us with that information. Please realize that we cannot incorporate range extensions without access to a voucher specimen, which should (ultimately) be deposited in an herbarium. You can send the pressed, dried collection (with complete locality information indicated) to us (e-mail us for details) or refer us to an accessioned herbarium specimen. Non-occurrence of a plant in an indicated area is difficult to document, but we will especially value your input on those types of possible errors (see automatic conversion of distribution data to maps).

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Mertensia oblongifolia var. oblongifolia
Retrieve dichotomous key for Mertensia
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
Show other taxa with the same California distribution | Read about bioregions | Get lists of plants in a bioregion
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