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

Annual or perennial herb, glabrous to rough-hairy; roots generally diffuse
Stem decumbent to erect
Leaves: basal generally oblong or oblanceolate; cauline generally linear to elliptic
Inflorescence coiled, generally raceme-like, eventually ± open; bracts 0 (or leaf-like in lower half); flowers generally in upper half of plant
Flower: calyx lobes 5, generally ± equal; corolla salverform or widely funnel-shaped, white, yellow, or generally blue, tube 5-appendaged at top, limb abruptly spreading, 5-lobed; stamens 5, included; style generally included
Fruit: nutlets smooth, shiny, each with raised outer margin, scar lateral, at base, small
Species in genus: 50 species: temp, boreal
Etymology: (Greek: mouse ear, from leaf)
Reference: [Grau 1964 Osterr Bot Zeitschr 111:561–617]
Generally flowers in spring.


M. discolor Pers.

Annual, biennial, puberulent to rough-hairy; roots diffuse
Stem 1–5 dm, slender, branched or not
Leaves sparse, generally 1–4 cm, 2–8 mm wide; hairs straight; basal oblanceolate; cauline ± linear to oblong
Inflorescence: bracts 0 or 1–2 near base; pedicel in fruit < calyx; flowers ± restricted to upper 1/2 of plant
Flower: calyx 3–5 mm, tube hairs spreading, hooked, lobes strigose or puberulent-strigose; corolla yellowish, turning blue, limb generally 1–2 mm diam, not completely flat
Fruit generally = or < style, dark brown or blackish
Chromosomes: 2n=64
Ecology: Roadsides, moist ground, wet meadows
Elevation: 0–1300 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (especially North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada)
Distribution outside California: to e N.America; native to Europe
Synonyms: M. versicolor (Pers.) Sm

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