Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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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.



Steven R. Hill, except as specified

Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, trees, generally stellate-hairy; juice sticky; inner bark tough, fibrous
Leaves alternate, simple, petioled; blade generally palmately veined or lobed, stipules present
Inflorescence often leafy; whorl or involucre of bractlets often subtending calyx
Flower generally bisexual, radial; calyx lobes 5, margins abutting in bud; petals 5, free (fused at base to filament tube, so falling together); stamens many, filaments fused into a tube surrounding style, tube fused in turn to petal bases; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers generally 5 or more, style branches, stigmas generally 1 or 2 X as many as chambers
Fruit of 5–many disk- or wedge-shaped segments, loculicidal capsule, or berry
Genera in family: 100 genera, 2000 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus , okra; Alcea ; Gossypium , cotton; Hibiscus , Malvaviscus )
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Sterculiaceae [Angiosperm phylogeny Group 1998 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 85:531–553; Alverson et al. 1999 Amer J Bot 86:1474–1486; Bayer et al. 1999 Bot J Linn Soc 129:267–303]
Mature fruit important for identification.



John C. La Duke

Annual, perennial herb, stellate-hairy
Leaf petioled; blade linear-lanceolate to triangular, entire to deeply dissected
Inflorescence: panicle or raceme-like (unbranched except for clusters in axils)
Flower: petals obovate, red-orange, white, or lavender; filament tube glabrous or stellate-hairy, anthers yellow or purple; stigmas head-like
Fruit breaking into 9–17 segments; upper part of segment dehiscent, smooth; lower part indehiscent, strongly net-veined, 1–2-seeded
Seeds gray, black, or brown
Species in genus: ± 50 species: warm Am, s Africa
Etymology: (Greek: globe mallow, from fruit shape)
Reference: [Kearney 1935 Univ Calif Publ Bot 19:1–128]
Polyploidy and intermediates common.


S. ambigua A. Gray


Plant canescent
Stem erect, 5–10 dm
Leaf: blade 15–50 mm, ± triangular, weakly 3-lobed, green or yellow-green, 3-veined, base wedge-shaped, truncate, cordate, margin crenate, wavy
Inflorescence: tip not leafy
Fruit: segments 9–13, < 6 mm, < 3.5 mm wide, truncate-cylindric, dehiscent part < 3.5 mm, rounded, 60–75% of segment
Seeds 2 per segment, brown, glabrous, ± hairy
Ecology: Desert scrub
Elevation: 150–2500 m.
Bioregional distribution: s East of Sierra Nevada, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Utah, Arizona, Mexico

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