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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.



Warren L. Wagner, except as specified Peter H. Raven, Family Coordinator

Annual to tree
Leaves basal or cauline, alternate, opposite, or whorled, generally simple and toothed (to pinnately compound); stipules 0 or generally deciduous
Inflorescence: spike, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary in axils; bracted
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial, opening at dawn or dusk; hypanthium sometimes prolonged beyond ovary (measured from ovary tip to sepal base); sepals generally 4(2–7); petals generally 4 (or as many as sepals, rarely 0), often "fading" darker; stamens generally 4 or 8(2), anthers 2-chambered, opening lengthwise, pollen generally interconnected by threads; ovary inferior, chambers generally 4 (sometimes becoming 1), placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1–many per chamber, style 1, stigma 4-lobed (or lobes as many as sepals), club-shaped, or hemispheric
Fruit: capsule, loculicidal (sometimes berry or indehiscent and nut-like)
Seeds sometimes winged or hair-tufted
Genera in family: 15 genera, ± 650 species: worldwide, especially w North America; many cultivated (Clarkia, Epilobium, Fuchsia, Gaura, Oenothera )
Reference: [Munz 1965 North America Fl II 5:1–278]



Annual, perennial herb, from taproot or lateral roots
Leaves basal, cauline, or both, alternate, simple to 2-pinnate
Inflorescence bracted; spike, raceme, or flowers solitary in axils
Flower radial, generally opening at dawn (rarely at dusk); sepals 4, reflexed (sometimes 2–3 remaining adherent); petals 4, yellow, white, lavender, often with darker basal spots, generally fading purplish or reddish; stamens (4)8, longer ones opposite sepals, anthers generally attached at middle (or base), pollen grains 3-angled except in polyploid taxa (visible with hand lens); ovary chambers 4, stigma ± head-like or hemispheric, generally > anthers and cross-pollinated (or ± = anthers and self-pollinated)
Fruit straight to coiled, generally sessile
Seeds in 1–2 rows per chamber
Species in genus: 62 species: w North America (especially CA-FP), 1 South America
Etymology: (L.A. von Chamisso, French-born German botanist, 1781–1838)
Reference: [Raven 1969 Contr US Natl Herb 37:161–396]
Polyploidy and self-pollination have predominated in evolution of genus. Previously included in Oenothera (" O." in synonyms).


C. contorta (Douglas) P.H. Raven

Annual, slender; rosette ± 0; hairs spreading, generally coarse (only at plant base or throughout), in inflorescence also sparsely glandular
Stem decumbent or erect, generally 3–30 cm, wiry, peeling
Leaf generally 10–35 mm, linear to narrowly elliptic, minutely serrate, generally bluish green
Inflorescence nodding
Flower: hypanthium 1.2–2.3 mm; sepals 2.5–4 mm, remaining adherent in pairs; petals 3–5 mm, yellow fading reddish, bases with 0 or 2 red dots; > 30% of pollen grains generally 4-angled
Fruit generally 25–35 mm, 0.7–1.2 mm wide, cylindric, ± swollen by seeds, straight or wavy, subsessile
Seeds in 1 row per chamber, 0.7–0.9 mm, shiny, minutely pitted
Chromosomes: 2n=42
Ecology: Sandy soil, slopes, flats, often disturbed, grassland, chaparral, pinyon/juniper woodland
Elevation: 0–2300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Idaho, w Nevada
Synonyms: O. c. Douglas; O. cruciata (S. Watson) Munz; O. strigulosa Fisch. & C.A. Mey. misapplied
Self-pollinated. Probably derived from C. strigulosa X C. campestris subsp. c. (sterile hybrids formed where they co-occur).

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