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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.



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.


Species in genus: 1 sp
Etymology: (A. Wislizenus, plant collector in sw US, born 1810)


W. refracta Engelm.


Annual or perennial herb, glabrous to puberulent
Stem profusely branched from base, 0.5–24 dm
Leaf: petiole 3–25 mm; leaflets generally 3
Inflorescence: raceme, 1–3 cm, dense, terminal, in fruit 4–20 cm; pedicels 5–10 mm
Flower radial; sepals free, ± 2 mm, ± entire, green; petals 2.5–6.3 mm, elliptic, yellow, ± sessile but tapered to base; stamens 8–14 mm, yellow; ovary 0.3–0.6 mm, generally exserted, lobes 2, nearly separate, each generally 1-ovuled, style 2–5.5 mm
Fruit: nutlets 2; valves deciduous; receptacle stalk-like, reflexed; style elongate but not spine-like
Seeds generally 1 per nutlet
Chromosomes: 2n=40
Ecology: Desert washes and flats, fields, roadsides, especially alkaline soils
Elevation: 0–800 m.
Bioregional distribution: c&s Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Joaquin Valley, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Texas, nw Mexico
Reference: [Keller 1979 Brittonia 31:333–351]
Valuable honey plant. TOXIC but seldom eaten.


subsp. californica (Greene) C.S. Keller

Stem green, tan
Leaf: leaflets 3, 4–20 mm, obovate
Flower: receptacle 6–10 mm; sepals 1–2 mm, lanceolate; anthers 1.6–2.1 mm; style 3–5 mm
Ecology: Sandy washes, weedy roadsides, cultivated and fallow fields
Elevation: 0–100 m.
Bioregional distribution: c&s Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Joaquin Valley.

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bioregional map for WISLIZENIA%20refracta%20subsp.%20californica being generated

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Wislizenia refracta subsp. californica
Retrieve dichotomous key for Wislizenia
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
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