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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.



Timothy C. Messick

Annual, perennial herb, generally strigose
Stem prostrate to erect, branched at base or above, < 5 dm
Leaves simple, 0.5–10 cm, generally smaller upward; all cauline (lower opposite, linear to oblong, upper generally alternate) or both basal (often in rosettes) and cauline (alternate, linear to oblanceolate)
Inflorescence: raceme or spike, coiled in bud, generally elongate in fruit; bracts 0–many; pedicels generally 0–1 mm
Flower bisexual; sepals fused below middle, 2–10 mm in fruit; corolla 1–12 mm wide, all white or yellow inside tube
Fruit: nutlets generally 4, 1–3.5 mm; back generally with midrib, lateral ribs, cross-ribs, interspaces, generally tubercled, sometimes prickled or bristled; scar generally lateral (on side) near middle or base, sometimes basal (on bottom) or oblique (between side and bottom), sometimes on a stalk or short peg, generally ovate to triangular
Species in genus: ± 65 species: temp w North America, w South America
Etymology: (Greek: sideways pit, from position of nutlet attachment scar)
Reference: [Higgins 1974 Great Basin Natur 34(2):161–166; Johnson 1932 Contr Arnold Abroretum 3:1–102]
Fully mature nutlets critical for identification; intergradation common in some species groups; sect. Allocarya often treated as a separate genus; many species need further study.


P. collinus (Phil.) I.M. Johnst.

Annual; hairs appressed to spreading, fine or coarse
Stem prostrate to ascending, generally 1–4 dm
Leaves cauline; lower generally opposite, 1–4 cm; upper alternate
Inflorescence generally elongate, bracted throughout
Flower: calyx ± 3 mm; corolla 1–7 mm wide
Fruit: nutlet 1–2 mm, ovoid; midrib, lateral ribs, cross-ribs sharp; scar at tip of oblique stalk
Ecology: Dry places, many habitats
Elevation: < 2300 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sierra Nevada, s San Joaquin Valley, Central Western California, Southwestern California, w Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: Arizona, Mexico, Chile
Varieties californicus , fulvescens , gracilis ± intergrading.


var. gracilis (I.M. Johnst.) Higgins

Plant not cespitose
Stem: hairs generally coarse, spreading
Leaf 1–4 cm, 2–2.5 mm wide, linear
Inflorescence > leaves
Flower: corolla 1.5–2 mm wide
Ecology: Dry places
Elevation: generally < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: s South Coast (near San Diego), Channel Islands
Synonyms: P. californicus var. g. I.M. Johnst

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bioregional map for PLAGIOBOTHRYS%20collinus%20var.%20gracilis being generated

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