Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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Lauramay T. Dempster

Subshrub, shrub, vine, or small tree
Leaves opposite, simple or compound; stipules generally 0
Flower: calyx tube fused to ovary, limb generally 5-lobed; corolla radial or bilateral, rotate to cylindric, generally 5-lobed; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, alternate corolla lobes; ovary inferior, 1–5-chambered, style l
Fruit: berry, drupe, or capsule
Genera in family: ± 12 genera, 450 species: especially n temp
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Valerianaceae (and Dispaceae); Sambucus, Viburnum recently treated in Adoxaceae



Large shrub (or small tree generally lacking main trunk), deciduous
Stem: pith conspicuous, spongy
Leaves pinnately (rarely bipinnately) compound, with terminal leaflet; leaflets serrate
Inflorescence: panicle made up of cymes, terminal
Flower small; calyx 5-toothed; corolla radial, rotate, 5-lobed, white or cream; ovary chambers 3–5, ovules 1 per chamber and suspended from its top, style short, stigmas 3–5
Fruit: drupe
Seeds 3–5
Etymology: (Greek, the name of a musical instrument made from wood of this genus)
Species in genus: 20 species: temp, subtropical; some cultivated as ornamental. TOXIC in quantity (except cooked fruits).


S. mexicana DC.


Shrub 2–8 m, generally as wide as tall, lacking main trunk
Leaf: leaflets 3–9, 3–20 cm, elliptic to ovate, glabrous to hairy, axis often curved or bowed, base often asymmetric, tip acute to acuminate
Inflorescence 4–33 cm diam, ± flat-topped; central axis generally abruptly shorter and weaker than branches
Fruit nearly black and densely white glaucous, thus appearing bluish
Chromosomes: 2n=36
Ecology: Common. Streambanks, open places in forest
Elevation: < 3000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Utah, New Mexico
Flowering time: Mar–Sep
Synonyms: S. caerulea Raf
Variable, currently impossible to split into unified subgroups; detailed study warranted
Horticultural information: 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 24, IRR: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

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bioregional map for SAMBUCUS%20mexicana being generated
YOU CAN HELP US make sure that our distributional information is correct and current. If you know that a plant occurs in a wild, reproducing state in a Jepson bioregion NOT highlighted on the map, please contact us with that information. Please realize that we cannot incorporate range extensions without access to a voucher specimen, which should (ultimately) be deposited in an herbarium. You can send the pressed, dried collection (with complete locality information indicated) to us (e-mail us for details) or refer us to an accessioned herbarium specimen. Non-occurrence of a plant in an indicated area is difficult to document, but we will especially value your input on those types of possible errors (see automatic conversion of distribution data to maps).

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Sambucus mexicana
Retrieve dichotomous key for Sambucus
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
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