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 to shrub; hairs 0 or simple
Leaves: basal not rosetted, generally petioled, entire to pinnately lobed; cauline short-petioled to sessile, sometimes clasping or surrounding stem
Flower small; sepals erect or spreading, oblong to ovate, shed early or persistent; petals linear to obovate, generally white, rarely yellowish, sometimes bristle-like or 0; stamens 6, 4, or 2
Fruit dehiscent, oblong to elliptic or obcordate, flat perpendicular to septum; pedicel cylindric or flat, winged or not
Seeds 1 per chamber, gelatinous when wetted; wing narrow or 0; embryonic root at back of 1 cotyledon, rarely at edges of both
Species in genus: ± 175 species: ± worldwide
Etymology: (Greek: little scale, from fruit)
Reference: [Hitchcock 1936 Madroño 3:265–300]


L. densiflorum Schrad.

Annual, biennial
Stem generally 1, erect, branched above, 1–3(4) dm; hairs minute, flat, obtuse
Leaves: basal rosetted, 3–10 cm, toothed to pinnately lobed; cauline entire to lobed, upper sessile, not clasping stem
Flower: sepals ± 1 mm; petals 0, rarely vestigial, white; stamens 2(4)
Fruit ± 2.5–3.5 mm, oblong-obovate; hairs 0 or minute; valve tips rounded; pedicel ± ascending, slender, generally < ± 2 X wider than thick; style ± 0
Seed generally margined or winged
Ecology: Sandy soils, plains, slopes, generally disturbed sites
Elevation: < 1800 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, Cascade Range, n High Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley, South Coast, Great Basin Floristic Province, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, Canada, e US
Varieties difficult.


var. pubicarpum (A. Nelson) Thell.

Annual, winter annual
Fruit 3–3.5 mm, 2.5–3 mm wide, hairy ± throughout; pedicel ± flat
Chromosomes: 2n=32
Ecology: Roadbanks, meadows
Elevation: < 1200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, Cascade Range, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert Mountains, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: to south-central Canada, Utah

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