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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. ramosissimus Nutt.

Stems erect, 5–32 cm; base brownish or purplish
Leaf 3–18 mm, oblanceolate, narrowed to slender or wide petiole, irregularly toothed or ± pinnately lobed, margins and base hairy
Inflorescence: axis straight; bracts 2–9 mm, linear, flat; pedicels 6–22 mm, 0.7 mm diam, ± spreading, slightly S-curved, tip ± erect
Flower: hypanthium 0.5 mm; sepals lobes ± 0.5 mm, deltate, erect; corolla 1.5–2 mm, divided > 1/2 length, white, glabrous, lobes erect; filament tube 1–2 mm, tip curved, anthers 0.2–0.3 mm
Fruit ± 1.5–2.5 mm, bell-shaped (base narrowed, tip rounded)
Seed ± 0.5 mm, subspheric; surface with clearly pitted rows
Ecology: Dry, sandy or gravelly soils
Elevation: 150–1600 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Francisco Bay Area (Mount Hamilton), Outer South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: to Utah, New Mexico, Baja California
Flowering time: Apr–May

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