Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

link to manual TREATMENT FROM THE JEPSON MANUAL (1993) previous taxon | next taxon
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.



James C. Hickman

Annual to trees, some dioecious
Stem: nodes often swollen
Leaves simple, basal or cauline, alternate, opposite, or whorled, generally entire; stipules 0 or obvious and fused into a generally scarious sheath around stem
Inflorescence: small cluster, axillary or arrayed in cymes or panicles; involucres sometimes subtending 1–many flowers
Flower generally bisexual, small, ± radial; perianth generally 5–6-lobed, base ± tapered, often jointed to pedicel; stamens 2–9, often in 2 whorls; ovary superior, styles generally 3, generally fused at base
Fruit: achene, generally enclosed by persistent perianth, generally 3-angled, ovoid, and glabrous
Genera in family: 50 genera, 1100 species: worldwide, especially n temp; some cultivated for food (Fagopyrum ; Rheum , rhubarb; Rumex , sorrel) or ornamental (Antigonon , coral-vine; Muehlenbeckia ; Polygonum )
Reference: [Ronse Decraene & Akeroyd 1988 Bot J Linn Soc 98:321–371; Reveal et al. 1989 Phytologia 66(2–4):83–414]
Treatments of the 15 eriogonoid genera are based on the monographic work of James L. Reveal, who is gratefully acknowledged.



Annual, perennial herb, shrub, vine
Stem prostrate to erect, or climbing, or floating, < 3 m
Leaves generally cauline, alternate, sessile or petioled; stipules fused, sheathing stem above nodes, generally scarious or membranous; blade sometimes obviously jointed to stipule sheath
Inflorescence: unit a 1–8-flowered cluster, these arrayed singly or in head-like to open panicles
Flower: perianth lobes generally 5; stamens 3–8, filaments generally wider at base
Fruit generally ovoid, 3-angled, sometimes round, flat, indented; shiny to dull, brown to black
Species in genus: ± 300 species: worldwide, especially n temp
Etymology: (Greek: many knees, from swollen nodes of some species)
Reference: [Ronse Decraene & Ackeroyd 1988 Bot J Linn Soc 98:321–371]
Segregate genera (e.g., Bistorta, Fallopia, Persicaria ) are sometimes recognized.


P. polygaloides Meisn.

Stem 1–30 cm, slender, ± angled; ribs 0 or obscure
Leaves < 4 cm, sessile, joint with stipule obvious; lower blades linear to narrowly lanceolate
Inflorescence 1–7 cm, ± crowded at stem tips; bracts narrowly lanceolate to round, margin green or white, sometimes reflexed
Flower: perianth opening or not, 1.5–2.5 mm, white to red, midribs ± green; fertile stamens 3, 5, or 8, varying within plants
Fruit 1–2 mm, light brown to nearly black, shiny to sculptured in lines and dull
Ecology: Common. Vernally moist places
Elevation: 100–3300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Montana, Colorado, Arizona
Highly variable intergrading complex centered in MP, 1500 m. Sspp. may grow together, sometimes without intergrading. CA subspp. self-pollinating. Bracts may change dramatically with age; immature plants may not key.


subsp. confertiflorum (Piper) J.C. Hickman

Stem 2–15 cm
Inflorescence generally 1–2 cm, generally 8–10 mm wide; bracts 4–10 mm, spreading to ascending, shorter, rounder upward, tip ± pointed, white margin ± 1/2 total bract width, ± reflexed
Flower: perianth 2 mm, white to red; anthers generally 3
Fruit < 2 mm, ovate in outline, nearly black, deeply sculptured, dull
Ecology: Common. Vernal pools, wet meadows; generally
Elevation: 500–1900 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, n Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Montana, Wyoming
Synonyms: P. c. Piper
Intergrades with all other subspp., especially subsp. kelloggii ; in n MP possible intermediates to subsp. polygaloides (which otherwise does not occur in CA) are larger, with bracts larger, whiter, rounder, flatter, more clustered.

previous taxon | next taxon
bioregional map for POLYGONUM%20polygaloides%20subsp.%20confertiflorum being generated

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Polygonum polygaloides subsp. confertiflorum
Retrieve dichotomous key for Polygonum
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
Show other taxa with the same California distribution | Read about bioregions | Get lists of plants in a bioregion
Return to the Jepson Interchange main page
Return to treatment index page

University & Jepson Herbaria Home Page |
General Information | University Herbarium | Jepson Herbarium |
Visiting the Herbaria | On-line Resources | Research |
Education | Related Sites
Copyright © by the Regents of the University of California