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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.



Charles F. Quibell

Shrub, subshrub
Stem < 3 m, generally erect; bark generally peeling as thin sheets or narrow strips
Leaves simple, opposite, deciduous or not, ± hairy; stipules 0; blade ± round to narrowly elliptic, entire or toothed
Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flower 1, terminal or axillary, generally bracted
Flower bisexual, radial; sepals 4–7, free, spreading or erect; petals 4–7, free, ± round to narrowly elliptic, generally white; stamens 10–12 in 2 whorls or many and clustered, filament base linear or wide and flat; pistil 1, ovary superior to 2/3 inferior, chambers 2–8, ovules 1–2 or many per chamber, placentas axile or parietal, styles 3–8, free or fused at base
Fruit: capsule, loculicidal or septicidal; styles persistent or not
Seeds generally many, small to minute
Genera in family: 7 genera, 130 species: temp, subtropical n hemisphere; some cultivated for ornamental (Carpenteria, Deutzia, Philadelphus)
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated within Hydrangeaceae [Soltis et al. 1995 Amer J Bot 82: 504–514]



Species in genus: 1 sp
Etymology: (William M. Carpenter, Louisiana botanist, 1811–1848)


C. californica Torr.

Shrub < 3 m
Stem: bark ± gray, peeling as thin, wide sheets
Leaves persistent, leathery; petiole 0.5–1 cm; blade 4–10 cm, 1–2.5 cm wide, narrowly elliptic, 1-veined, margin generally rolled under, entire or ± toothed, upper surface green, glabrous, lower surface pale, short-tomentose
Inflorescence: cyme or short raceme, terminal, open; flowers 3–13, bracts < leaves, sessile
Flower 3–6 cm wide, fragrant; sepals 5–7, 8–10 mm, generally glabrous, inner surface white-tomentose at tip; petals 5–8, 15–25 mm, ± round, white; stamens many, clustered, filaments linear; ovary ± superior, chambers 5–8, ± incomplete; placentas axile, ovules many; style 1, branches 5–7 above middle, 3–6 mm; stigma linear along style branch
Fruit 0.6–1.2 cm wide, depressed-spheric, weakly septicidal
Seeds many, fusiform, red-brown
Chromosomes: 2n=20
Ecology: Streambanks, chaparral, oak woodland
Elevation: 450–1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: c&s Sierra Nevada Foothills (between Kings & San Joaquin Rivers, Fresno Co.).Plants appear to be fire-resistant, stump-sprouters; seedling establishment not observed in nature
Horticultural information: In cultivation.
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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