Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Dieter H. Wilken, except as specified

Annual, perennial herb, sometimes aquatic
Leaves generally basal and cauline, generally alternate, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, sometimes sheathing or stipule-like
Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary
Flower generally bisexual, radial; sepals generally 5, free, early deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0–many, free; stamens generally 10–many; pistils 1–many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 1, generally ± persistent in fruit as beak, ovules 1–many
Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, or utricle-like, 1–many-seeded
Genera in family: ± 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially n temp, tropical mtns; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Erianthis, Helleborus ), some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus )
Reference: [Duncan & Keener 1991 Phytologia 70:24–27]



Annual from fibrous roots, generally glabrous
Stems 1–many, ascending to erect, slender, generally tufted
Leaves simple; basal, ± sessile, thread-like to narrowly oblanceolate, entire
Inflorescence scapose; peduncle 1-flowered, in fruit generally > 1 cm
Flower bisexual, radial; receptacle in fruit much elongated, cylindric; sepals 5–7, spurred, white to green, fading brownish; petals 0 or 3–5, white to greenish or yellowish, generally early deciduous; stamens 5–many; pistils many
Fruit: achenes, glabrous to puberulent; keel on outer surface, in depression or not, beak (continuation of keel) ± ascending to erect-appressed
Species in genus: 10–15 species: temp Am, Eurasia, New Zealand
Etymology: (Greek: mouse tail, from receptacle in fruit)
Reference: [Campbell 1952 El Aliso 2:389–403; Stone 1959 Evolution 13:151–174]
Fr needed for identification.


M. apetalus Gay

Plant 1.5–12 cm
Leaf 1–6 cm, thread-like to linear
Inflorescence in fruit > leaves
Flower: receptacle in fruit 4–15 mm; sepals 1–2.5 mm, spur 1–3 mm; petals 0 or 5, ± = sepals; stamens generally 5
Fruit: body ± compressed laterally, longer than wide; keel not in a depression; beak ± ascending, 0.3–2 mm
Ecology: Wet places, vernal pools, marshes, scrub
Elevation: 1300–3100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada (except Tehachapi Mountain Area), Sacramento Valley, San Bernardino Mountains, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Montana, Colorado, Chile
Synonyms: M. aristatus Benth., M. minimus L. subsp. montanus G.R. Campb

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