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.



R. John Little

Annual to shrub or vine (generally per in CA)
Leaves basal, cauline, or both, generally alternate, entire to compound; stipules generally small
Inflorescence: head, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary; peduncle bractlets 2
Flower generally bisexual, generally bilateral; sepals 5, free to slightly fused, generally persistent; petals 5, free, lowest generally spurred or pouched at base; stamens generally 5, alternate petals, filaments short, wide, anthers surrounding ovary, adherent or fused, often with nectaries at base, often with membranous appendage at tip; ovary superior, chamber 1, placentas 3, parietal, ovules generally many, style 1
Fruit: generally capsule, 3-valved, generally explosively dehiscent
Seeds generally appendaged
Genera in family: 15 genera, 600 species: generally temp, worldwide; some cultivated as ornamental; some Eur species medicinally useful as emetics, diuretics, purgatives
Reference: [Brizicky 1961 J Arnold Arbor 42:321–333]



Annual or perennial herb < 35 cm, glabrous to hairy
Leaf entire to compound
Inflorescence: flower generally solitary, axillary
Flower bilateral; sepals subequal, appendaged at base; petals unequal, lowest spurred or pouched at base, lateral 2 equal, generally spreading, often hairy near base, upper 2 equal, erect; lower 2 stamens with nectaries projecting into spur
Fruit: capsule, ovoid to oblong
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name)
Reference: [Clausen 1964 Madroño 17:173–197]
Cleistogamous flowers generally present. Seeds often dispersed by ants that feed on seed-appendages.


V. purpurea Kellogg

Plant 1–35 cm
Stem appearing ± early, sometimes elongating, ascending to erect from woody taproot, generally hairy
Leaves simple, entire to toothed, often purplish (especially below), ± hairy; basal 1–5, petiole 20–145 mm, blade 10–50 mm, ovate to round, tapered to cordate at base, often fleshy; cauline blade < basal, lanceolate to ovate, base tapered to cordate
Inflorescence: peduncle 15–170 mm
Flower: petals deep lemon-yellow, lowest (including spur) 6–17 mm, lower 3 veined purple-brown, lateral 2 bearded, upper 2 purplish outside
Fruit 5–12 mm, puberulent
Chromosomes: n=6,12.
Ecology: Chaparral, dry forest, timberline communities, sagebrush or desert scrub
Elevation: 400–3100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Central Western California, Southwestern California, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert Mountains (Panamint Mtns)
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, n Baja California
Variable; subspp. intergrade; needs study
Horticultural information: TRY; DFCLT.


subsp. purpurea


Plant 4–22 cm
Leaves generally green, tinged purple, generally glabrous above; basal generally erect, blade base generally truncate to cordate; cauline blade toothed
Inflorescence: peduncle generally < 130 mm
Chromosomes: n=6
Ecology: Open montane forests, scrub
Elevation: 500–2500 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Central Western California, Southwestern California
Distribution outside California: sw Oregon
Synonyms: subsp. dimorpha M.S. Baker & J.C. Clausen

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