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.



Reed C. Rollins, except as specified

Annual to subshrub
Leaves generally basal and cauline, alternate, generally simple; stipules 0
Inflorescence: generally raceme
Flower bisexual; sepals 4, free; petals (0)4, free, generally white or yellow, often clawed; stamens generally (2,4)6, generally 4 long, 2 short; ovary 1, superior, chambers generally 2, septum membranous, connecting 2 parietal placentas, style 1, stigma simple or 2-lobed
Fruit: generally capsule ("silique") with 2 deciduous valves, sometimes breaking transversely or indehiscent
Seeds 1–many per chamber
Genera in family: 300+ genera, 3000+ species: worldwide, especially cool regions; some cultivated for food (especially Brassica, Raphanus ) and ornamental
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Capparaceae [Rodman et al. 1993 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 80:686–699; Rollins 1993 Cruciferae of Continental North America. Stanford Univ Press]
Family description, key to genera by Robert A. Price.



Annual, biennial, perennial herb, from taproots, fibrous roots, or tuber-like rhizomes; hairs 0 or simple
Leaves entire or palmately or pinnately lobed to compound; rhizome leaves often present, separate from others
Inflorescence bracted or not
Flower: sepals equal at base; petals white to pink or rose
Fruit linear, generally flat; valves generally opening elastically, sometimes by coiling from base; septum margins intruding on valves
Seeds many, 1 row per chamber, wingless (± margined in C. oligosperma); embryonic root at edges of both cotyledons
Species in genus: ± 170 species: most temp parts of world
Etymology: (Greek: for a cress with medicinal uses)


C. oligosperma Nutt.

Annual, biennial, taprooted
Stems erect to ascending, 1–several, generally > 20 cm, branched; hairs short or 0
Leaves many; basal ± rosetted, 1-pinnate, lateral leaflets 5–9, 3–20 mm, short-stalked, widely obovate to ± round, sparsely, shallowly dentate, < terminal
Inflorescence 3–10 cm, elongate
Flower: petals 2–4 mm, white
Fruit ascending to erect, 15–25 mm, 1–2 mm wide; hairs 0 or sparse; pedicel ascending to erect, 5–15 mm; style < 0.5 mm
Seed oblong-ovate, narrowly margined
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Wet meadows, shady banks, creek bottoms
Elevation: < 1100 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, White and Inyo Mountains
Distribution outside California: British Columbia, Montana, Colorado
Flowering time: Mar–Jul

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