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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Nancy Morin, except as specified

Annual to tree
Leaves generally cauline, generally simple, generally alternate, petioled or not; stipules 0
Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike, or flowers solitary in axils, generally open; bracts leaf-like or not
Flower: bisexual, radial or bilateral, sometimes inverted (pedicel twisted 180°; hypanthium generally present, ± fused to ovary; sepals generally 5; corolla radial to 2-lipped, generally fused (tube sometimes split down back), lobes generally 5; stamens 5, free or ± fused (anthers and filaments fused into tube or filaments fused above middle); ovary inferior, sometimes half inferior, chambers 1–3, placentas axile or parietal, ovules many, style generally 1, 2–5-branched
Fruit: generally capsule, dehiscing on sides or at tip by pores or short valves
Seeds many
Genera in family: ± 70 genera, ± 2000 species: worldwide. Some cultivated for ornamental (Campanula, Jasione, Lobelia ). Subfamilies sometimes treated as different families.


Tina Ayers

Annual, glabrous
Stem decumbent to erect, (10)20–40 cm
Leaves cauline, often deciduous before flower, << flower bracts, 0.5–2(4) mm wide, lanceolate to awl-like (uppermost sometimes wider), sessile, generally entire
Inflorescence: spike; terminal flowers often aborted, overtopped by fertile
Flower sessile, generally inverted at full bloom by twisted ovary; corolla generally >> calyx, blue to pink or white, generally with a symmetric white or yellow spot on lower lip, tube entire, limb strongly 2-lipped, generally 2 lobes of upper lip < 3 of lower; stamens fused (filaments, anthers in tubes), generally 2 smaller anthers each with terminal tuft of bristles, 1 triangular or horn-like, generally 0.2–0.5 mm, others linear, shorter; ovary pedicel-like, chambers 1–2, placentas parietal or axile
Fruit dehiscent by 3–5 lateral slits
Species in genus: 13 species: w North America, Chile
Etymology: (A.J. Downing, American horticulturist, 1815–1852)
Reference: [Weiler 1962 PhD Univ of CA Berkeley]
Fl part positions (upper = next to stem; lower = away from stem) given at full bloom.


D. pusilla Torr.

Flower not inverting; corolla 2.5–4 mm, < or = calyx, glabrous, upper lip 3-lobed, with 2 minute yellow spots near throat, lobes white or blue, narrowly triangular, acute; anthers < 45° to filaments; ovary 2-chambered, placentas axile
Fruit 20–27 mm; lateral walls tough, dehiscent along translucent lines
Seed spirally striate, appearing twisted
Chromosomes: n=11
Ecology: Vernal pools, roadside ditches
Elevation: < ± 150 m.
Bioregional distribution: Inner North Coast Ranges, s Sacramento Valley, n&c San Joaquin Valley
Distribution outside California: Chile
Synonyms: D. humilis (Greene) Rattan, dwarf downingia
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for DOWNINGIA%20pusilla being generated

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