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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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

STERCULIACEAE

CACAO FAMILY

R. David Whetstone and T.A. Atkinson

Perennial to tree; hairs stellate (or scale-like, peltate)
Leaves cauline, alternate, simple or palmately compound, evergreen, petioled; stipules generally deciduous
Inflorescence: generally complex clusters, cymes, or flowers solitary (in axils, opposite leaves, or on a spur branch); whorl of bracts often subtends calyx (especially if petals 0)
Flower bisexual, radial; sepals 5, generally fused at base; petals 0 or 5, clawed, sometimes fused to filament tube; stamens 5 (sometimes alternate 5 staminodes), filaments fused below into tube; ovary superior, sometimes on a stalk that may be fused to filament tube, chambers generally 5, style 1
Fruit: capsule
Genera in family: 60 genera, 700 species: generally tropical, subtropical; some cultivated for ornamental (Fremontodendron ) or for drugs and food (Cola ; Theobroma , chocolate)
Reference: [Brizicky 1966 J Arnold Arbor 47:60–74]

AYENIA

Shrub; taproot stout
Stem erect, much-branched at base, 1–4 dm; twig hairs stellate or 0
Leaf ovate-obovate, unlobed, serrate
Inflorescence: flowers 1(–2) in axils
Flower generally < 3 mm wide; sepals ± spreading, narrowly ovate; petal claw thread-like, coiled, limb ± obcordate, incurved, parachute-like, sinus with an anther below and a stalked, gland-like appendage above; filament tube ± cup- or urn-shaped at top, surrounding ovary, with 5 short, stalked anthers bent outward and downward (each stalk inserted in sinus, thereby attached to petal), staminodes 5, < stamens; ovary (and fruit) stalked above receptacle
Fruit: chambers 1-seeded
Species in genus: ± 50 species: warm Am
Etymology: (Louis de Noailles, Duc d'Ayen, 1739–1777)
Reference: [Cristobal 1960 Opera Lilloana 4:1–230]

Native

A. compacta Rose

AYENIA


Flower: sepals ± 1.5 mm; petals 2–3 mm, claws ± 2 mm
Fruit ± 5 mm, spheric, straw-colored, with ± cylindric, purplish protuberances
Seed black
Ecology: Dry, rocky canyons
Elevation: < 500 m.
Bioregional distribution: eastern Desert Mountains (Providence Mtns), w&c Sonoran Desert (including Eagle Mtns)
Distribution outside California: Baja California
Flowering time: Mar–Apr
Synonyms: A. californica Jeps
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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