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, ± fleshy
Stems several–many, spreading to erect
Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, upper 2–5 forming involucre; blade linear, ovate, or spoon-shaped, flat or cylindric
Inflorescence: flowers solitary or in clusters at stem tips
Flower: sepals 2, fused at base, lower portion fused to ovary and persistent in fruit; petals 4–6, inserted on calyx, yellow; stamens 4–20; ovary ± inferior, 1-chambered; style 3–6-branched
Fruit: capsule, circumscissile
Seeds many, reniform, ± tuberculate
Species in genus: 100 species: warm regions worldwide
Etymology: (Probably Latin: small gate or door, from capsule lid)
Reference: [Matthews & Levins 1985 Sida 11(1):45–61]


P. oleracea L.


Stem spreading
Leaf 5–30 mm, ovate to spoon-shaped, generally flat
Inflorescence: flowers solitary or in clusters of 2–5 at stem tips
Flower: sepals 3–5 mm, green or reddish, generally keeled; petals 3–5 mm, yellow; stamens 5–20; style 4–6-branched
Fruit 3–8 mm wide
Seed 0.6–1 mm wide, dark brown to black
Chromosomes: 2n=36,54
Ecology: Disturbed soil
Elevation: < 1400 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: native to Europe
Flowering time: May–Sep
Synonyms: P. retusa Engelm

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bioregional map for PORTULACA%20oleracea being generated

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