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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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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; hairs simple, rarely sac-like
Stems 1–many, prostrate to erect, branched or not, often from center of basal rosette, rooting at nodes or not
Leaves: basal, lower cauline sessile or short-petioled, entire to pinnately compound; cauline reduced upward
Inflorescence terminal and lateral
Flower generally small; petals 0 or obovate to narrowly spoon-shaped, pale to bright yellow or white
Fruit linear to round, plump; valves 2 or 4(6); pedicel ascending to recurved, slender, generally with 2 minute glands at base; style 0 or prominent, persistent
Seeds 10–200, (1)2 rows per chamber, dense, generally plump; wing 0; embryonic root at edges of both cotyledons
Species in genus: ± 75 species: worldwide
Etymology: (Old Saxon: for these, perhaps other crucifers)
Reference: [Stuckey 1972 Sida 4:277–340]


R. nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek


Perennial, ± glabrous
Stem submersed, ± floating, or prostrate on mud, 1–6 dm, rooting at nodes
Leaves many, 1-pinnate; leaflets generally 3–7, widely oblong to ovate, ± entire or wavy-margined
Flower: petals 3–4 mm, white
Fruit spreading to ± erect, 10–15 mm, narrowly oblong, straight to upcurved; pedicels ± spreading, ± straight, not bracted, junctions not flat, lower 8–15 mm; style < 0.5 mm or 0
Seeds 2 rows per chamber, ± 1 mm wide, ± round
Chromosomes: 2n=32
Ecology: Streams, springs, marshes, lake margins
Elevation: < 2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, n East of Sierra Nevada, White and Inyo Mountains, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: temperate worldwide
Flowering time: Mar–Nov
Synonyms: Nasturtium officinale R. Br
Horticultural information: WET-fresh water: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; widely cultivated for edible greens.

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