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.


Kenton L. Chambers

Annual or perennial herb, glabrous, ± fleshy, sometimes ± aquatic, sometimes matted
Leaves: cauline > 2, alternate or opposite, entire
Inflorescence: raceme, 1-sided; lowest flower generally bracted; pedicels recurved, erect in fruit
Flower: petals (3–)5, equal or 2 larger; stamens (3–)5, filaments fused to corolla-base; ovary chamber 1, placentas basal, style 1, stigmas 3
Fruit: capsule; valves 3, margins rolling inward and forcibly expelling seeds
Seeds 1–3, generally black, smooth to tubercled, fleshy-appendaged or not
Species in genus: 12 species: Am, Siberia, Australia
Etymology: (Giuseppe Monti, Italian botanist, 1682–1760)
Reference: [McNeill 1975 Can J Bot 53:789–809]
Sometimes divided into 9 genera.


M. dichotoma (Nutt.) Howell

Annual 2–9 cm, erect, often appearing tufted
Leaves alternate, 5–40 mm, linear
Inflorescences few–many, terminal; flowers 4–16
Flower often cleistogamous; sepals 1.5–2.5 mm, widely obovate, obtuse to truncate; petals = or slightly > sepals, ± unequal, white; stamens 3
Fruit 1.4–1.8 mm
Seed 0.8–1.2 mm, ± smooth; appendage 0
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Uncommon. Moist depressions, grassland, open woodland
Elevation: 1000–1600 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, Cascade Range, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Montana

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