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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, perennial herb, shrub, often glaucous; hairs 0 or simple
Stem 2–15 dm, branched or not
Leaves: basal clustered or not; cauline petioled or not, entire to deeply lobed
Inflorescence dense, generally > 1 dm; buds club-shaped
Flower: sepals spreading to reflexed, linear-oblong; petals generally conspicuous, yellow to white; filaments ± equal, >> petals
Fruit linear, flat parallel to septum or ± cylindric; stalk above receptacle 1–3 cm; style ± 0 or short
Seed oblong; margin 0; embryonic root at edges of 1 or both cotyledons
Species in genus: 6 species: w US
Etymology: (E. Stanley, English ornithologist, 19th century)
Concentrates selenium to TOXIC levels, but rarely eaten.


S. pinnata (Pursh) Britton

Stems several–many, 4–15 dm, glaucous; hairs 0 or sparse; base branched, woody
Leaves petioled; basal and lower cauline 5–15 cm, 2–5 cm wide, widely lanceolate, deeply pinnately lobed, hairs 0 or short; upper cauline linear-lanceolate to ovate, entire or few-lobed
Inflorescence 1–3 dm, dense; buds yellowish
Flower: sepals spreading or reflexed, 10–15 mm; petals 10–18 mm, yellow, claws with dense, long, wavy hairs on inner side; stamens >> petals, ± equal
Fruit spreading to ± downcurved, 3–8 cm, ± cylindric; stalk above receptacle 10–25 mm; pedicel spreading, 6–12 mm, hairs 0 or few
Seed ± 2 mm, oblong, plump; embryonic root at back of 1 cotyledon
Ecology: Generally open sites, slopes, canyons
Elevation: < 1850 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Joaquin Valley, South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: to c US

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