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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.


Nancy R. Morin and Jennifer Milburn

Annual; roots fibrous
Stems erect or spreading, simple or branched at base or below middle
Leaves basal; petiole short or 0
Inflorescence ± raceme-like; bract 1 per flower, small; pedicel generally thread-like
Flower inverted; sepals linear to triangular; corolla nearly radial and 5-lobed or 2-lipped (upper lip 3-lobed, lower lip 2-lobed); filaments free at base, fused into tube above, sometimes appendaged at tube base, anthers free, all alike; ovary generally half-inferior in fruit, sometimes 0, hemispheric to obconic, sometimes glandular, stigma 2-lobed, papillate
Fruit generally > hypanthium, hemispheric to fusiform; tip pointed or rounded, dehiscing at tip by 2 valves; chambers 2
Seed elliptic to oblong
Species in genus: 13 species: sw US, nw Mex
Etymology: (Greek: thread-like branch)
Reference: [McVaugh 1942 N Amer Flora 32A: 1–134]


N. gracilis Eastw.


Stems spreading to ascending, 2.5–10 cm; base dull reddish brown
Leaf 2.5–8 mm, oblanceolate to oblong, narrowed to wide petiole, irregularly dentate to ± pinnately lobed, hairy
Inflorescence: axis straight or weakly zigzag; bracts 2–4 mm, linear-oblong, tip recurved; pedicels 5–12 mm, 0.1 mm diam, reflexed, slightly S-curved, tip erect
Flower: hypanthium 0.5 mm; sepals ± 0.5 mm, linear, spreading; corolla 1.5–2 mm, ± 1/2 divided, white with lavender veins, sparsely hairy, lobes erect; filament tube ± 1 mm, tip curved, fine-hairy; anthers 0.5 mm
Fruit ± 1.5 mm, hemispheric (base acute, tip rounded)
Seed ± 0.5 mm, widely elliptic; surface with vertical zigzag ridges alternating with clearly pitted rows
Ecology: UNCOMMON. Rocky slopes, sandy washes
Elevation: < 1900 m.
Bioregional distribution: Tehachapi Mountain Area, San Joaquin Valley (sw Merced Co.), s Outer South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges, w Mojave Desert (Los Angeles Co.)
Flowering time: Mar–Apr
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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