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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, rarely per; hairs generally minute, generally multibranched, fewer simple, some glandular
Stem branched
Leaves 1–many-pinnately lobed to compound; basal often rosetted but withering
Inflorescence elongating; bracts generally 0
Flower: petals < 3 mm, yellow or whitish, blades obovate, obtuse
Fruit linear to ± obovate, straight or uneven-margined, generally ± cylindric; style < 0.8 mm or 0, stigma generally head-like, entire
Seeds: 1–2 rows per chamber, generally < 1 mm, elliptic, plump, gelatinous when wet; wing 0; embryonic root at back of 1 cotyledon
Species in genus: ± 40 species: worldwide temp
Etymology: (F. Descourain, French botanist, 1658–1740)
Reference: [Detling 1939 Amer Midl Naturalist 22: 481–520]
Relationships, characters of species difficult. May be TOXIC to livestock.


D. californica (A. Gray) O.E. Schulz

Winter annual to biennial
Stem 1, 3–8 dm; glands 0; branches above, slender
Leaves oblanceolate to obovate, greenish, 1-pinnately lobed; lobes 2–4 pairs, 1.5–6 cm, lanceolate to oblanceolate, tip acute or obtuse, margins serrate to dissected; lower cauline leaves ± hairy, upper ± glabrous
Inflorescence: bracts subtending branches, leaf-like
Flower: petals spreading, < 2 mm, barely > sepals, bright yellow
Fruit erect to spreading, 2–5 mm, fusiform, ± straight or curved; pedicel ascending to spreading, 3–7 mm, slender; style generally 0.5–0.8 mm
Seeds 1–3, 1 row per chamber
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Open sites, sagebrush, scrub, aspen groves, open woodlands
Elevation: 2100–3400 m.
Bioregional distribution: High Sierra Nevada, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to Wyoming, New Mexico
Flowering time: May–Aug

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