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.



Annual or perennial herb, generally fleshy
Stems generally glabrous
Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, sometimes stipuled
Inflorescence various
Flower bisexual, radial; sepals generally 2(–8), free or fused at base; petals 3–18, free or ± fused; stamens 1–many, free or inserted on corolla; ovary superior or partly inferior, chamber 1, placenta free-central or basal; styles 2–8, generally fused at base
Fruit: capsule, circumscissile or 2–3-valved
Seeds 1–many, generally black, generally shiny
Genera in family: ± 20 genera, ± 400 species: generally temp Am, Australia, s Africa; some cultivated (Lewisia, Portulaca, Calandrinia )
Reference: [Bogle 1969 J Arnold Arbor 50:566–598]
Family description and key to genera by Dieter H. Wilken & Walter A. Kelley.


Walter A. Kelley

Annual, perennial herb, ± fleshy, glabrous or glaucous
Stems several–many, prostrate to erect, 3–45 cm
Leaves simple, alternate; blade linear to spoon-shaped, cylindric or flat
Inflorescence: raceme or panicle; bracts scarious or leaf-like
Flower: sepals 2, overlapping, persistent in fruit; petals 3–7, generally 5, red or white; stamens 3–15; style 3-branched
Fruit: capsule, 3-valved from tip
Seeds many, ovate to ± elliptic, generally black, smooth, finely tuberculate, or with a fine, net-like pattern, short-hairy or not
Species in genus: 150 species: w Am, Australia
Etymology: (J.L. Calandrini, Switzerland, born 1703)
Reference: [Kelley 1973 MS Thesis, CA State Univ, Northridge]


C. ambigua (S. Watson) Howell

Annual, glabrous
Stem spreading to erect
Leaf 1.5–6 cm, linear to ± spoon-shaped, ± cylindric
Inflorescence: panicle of umbel-like clusters, compact; bracts scarious; pedicels 1–3 mm, straight in fruit
Flower: sepals 2–5 mm, glabrous, margins white-scarious; petals 3–5, 2–5 mm, white; stamens 5–10
Fruit < calyx
Seeds 6–15, 1–2 mm wide, ± elliptic to ovate, at 10X shiny black, smooth
Ecology: Common. Sandy to silty soil
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Desert
Distribution outside California: Arizona, nw Mexico
Flowering time: Jan–Apr

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