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

CAPPARACEAE

CAPER FAMILY

Staria S. Vanderpool

Annual, shrub, tree, ill-smelling
Leaves generally 1-palmate, generally alternate, generally petioled; stipules generally minute, often bristle-like or hairy; leaflets 3–7
Inflorescence: raceme, head, or flowers solitary, generally longer in fruit; bracts generally 3-parted below, simple above, or 0
Flower generally bisexual, radial to ± bilateral; sepals generally 4, free or fused, generally persistent; petals generally 4, free, ± clawed; stamens generally 6, free, exserted, anthers generally coiling at dehiscence; ovary superior, generally on stalk-like receptacle, chamber generally 1, placentas generally 2, parietal, style 1, persistent, stigma generally minute, ± head-like
Fruit: generally capsule, septicidal; valves generally 2, deciduous, leaving septum (frame-like placentas) behind; pedicel generally ± reflexed to spreading
Genera in family: 45 genera, 800 species: widespread tropical to arid temp; some cultivated (Capparis spinosa , caper bush)
Reference: [Ernst 1963 J Arnold Arbor 44:81–93]
CA members placed in subfamily Cleomoideae. Alternate family name: Capparidaceae.

CLEOME

Annual, generally ± glabrous
Stem generally branched from upper nodes
Leaf: petiole 5–45 mm; leaflets generally 3
Inflorescence: raceme, terminal, generally 1–4 cm in flower, generally 5–40 cm in fruit; pedicels 4–20 mm
Flower often ± unisexual (stamens or pistils vestigial), ± bilateral, most parts generally yellow; sepals free or fused; petals sessile to short-clawed
Fruit: capsule, longer than wide; septum linear to oblong; receptacle stalk-like, reflexed to ascending
Seeds 10–40
Species in genus: 150–170 species: especially tropical, subtropical Am, Africa; some tropical weeds
Etymology: (Early Eur name for a mustard-like plant)

Native

C. sparsifolia S. Watson

Plant 1–9 dm, densely branched, glabrous, glaucous
Leaves ± sparse; leaflets 3 below, 1 (leaves simple) above, 0.4–1.5 cm, obovate
Inflorescence open, few-flowered, 2–10 cm, not much expanding in fruit
Flower: sepals free, deciduous, 1.4–3 mm, ovate, acuminate, minutely serrate, brown-green; petals 9–13 mm, strap-shaped, recurved, yellow with brown central streak; stamens 9–15 mm, yellow, anthers 3–6 mm, brown; style 0.1–0.4 mm
Fruit 15–45 mm, 1–3 mm wide, ± round in transverse section, smooth; receptacle 2–5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=32
Ecology: Sand dunes, beaches
Elevation: 900–2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: East of Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: w Nevada
Flowering time: May–Aug

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