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.



Wayne R. Ferren, Jr.

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, glabrous or hairy
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves simple, generally basal and cauline, alternate, opposite, or whorled, rarely fleshy; stipules 0, conspicuous, or small and deciduous
Inflorescence: cyme, cluster, or flower solitary, axillary
Flower generally bisexual, small, radial; calyx persistent, sepals 4–5, generally free; corolla 0 or small; stamens 5–10, sometimes petal-like, attached to hypanthium, filaments free or fused at base; nectary a ring; ovary superior, chambers 1–10, placentas generally axile, styles 1 or 3–5, generally free
Fruit: generally capsule, generally loculicidal
Seeds 1 or more per chamber, sometimes with arils
Genera in family: 14 genera, 95 species: generally tropical, subtropical, especially Africa.



Annual, perennial herb, glabrous to puberulent
Stem prostrate to ascending, slender; branches many
Leaves generally whorled, linear to oblanceolate; stipules 0
Inflorescence: umbel, cluster, or flower solitary; pedicel slender
Flower: sepals 5, ± petal-like, persistent, midrib generally green, margins white-scarious; petals 0; stamens 3, alternate ovary chambers or 5, alternate sepals (rarely 10); ovary ± ovate, chambers 3–5, styles 3–5, linear
Fruit thin, included in calyx
Seeds many, reniform, smooth, ridged, or tubercled, red-brown; aril short
Species in genus: 20 species: tropical, subtropical
Etymology: (Greek: soft plant)


M. cerviana (L.) Ser.

Annual, glabrous, glaucous
Stem ± erect, < 20 cm
Leaves in whorls of 4–10, 3–15 mm, generally 1 mm wide, linear
Inflorescence: umbel; flowers 1–several; peduncle = or > slender pedicels; bracts minute, margins translucent
Flower: sepals 5, 1–1.5 mm; stamens 5, alternate sepals, 1 mm; stigmas 3, sessile
Fruit ± round
Seed 0.3–0.4 mm, faintly keeled and net-sculptured, brown
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Uncommon. Seasonal pools, sandy washes, flats, slopes
Elevation: < 1700 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Jacinto Mountains, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Texas, Mexico, tropical; native to Old World
Flowering time: Sep–Mar

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