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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.



Lawrence R. Heckard, Family Coordinator

Annual to shrubs, generally glandular, some green root-parasites
Stem generally round
Leaves generally alternate, simple, generally ± entire; stipules generally 0
Inflorescence: spike to panicle, generally bracted, or flowers 1–2 in axils
Flower bisexual; calyx lobes generally 5; corolla generally strongly bilateral, generally 2-lipped (upper lip generally 2-lobed, lower lip generally 3-lobed); stamens generally 4 in 2 pairs, generally included, a 5th (generally uppermost) sometimes present as a staminode; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers generally 2, placentas axile, style 1, stigma lobes generally 2
Fruit: capsule, generally ± ovoid, loculicidal or septicidal
Seed: coat sculpture often characteristic
Genera in family: ± 200 genera, 3000 species: ± worldwide; some cultivated as ornamental (e.g., Antirrhinum, Mimulus, Penstemon ) or medicinal (Digitalis )
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include only Buddleja, Scrophularia, and Verbascum in CA; other genera moved to Orobanchaceae (Castilleja, Cordylanthus, Orthocarpus, Pedicularis, Triphysaria), Phrymaceae (Mimulus), and Plantaginaceae (= Veronicaceae sensu Olmstead et al.)
Key to genera by Elizabeth Chase Neese & Margriet Wetherwax.



Margriet Wetherwax

Biennial, perennial herb
Stem erect
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate; lowermost in a rosette
Inflorescence: raceme, 1-sided, bracted
Flower nodding; calyx deeply 5-lobed; corolla ± bilateral, long-bell-shaped, lowest 3 lobes forming a prominent lip; stamens 4, in 2 pairs, included; stigmas 2, flat
Species in genus: 30 species: Eur (especially Medit), w&c Asia; some cultivated as ornamental or as source of the cardiac glycoside digitalis, a medically important heart stimulant
Etymology: (Latin: finger, from corolla shape)


D. purpurea L.

Generally biennial
Stem < 18 dm, simple, gray-tomentose and glandular, especially upward
Leaf 10–30 cm; petiole winged; blade lanceolate to ovate, margins crenate to dentate, upper surface green and soft-hairy, lower surface gray-tomentose
Inflorescence: pedicel 6–25 mm, tomentose; flowers many
Flower: calyx lobes < 1.8 cm, lanceolate to ovate; corolla 4–6 cm, white to pink-purple with darker spots on lower inside surface, lobes ciliate, sparsely long-hairy inside; stamens, style included
Fruit ± 12 mm, ovoid
Seeds many, ± 0.5 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=56
Ecology: Acid soil in open woodlands, disturbed places
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, n Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia; native to w Europe, nw Africa
All parts TOXIC, unpalatable to livestock; leaves may be mistaken for comfrey or sage—tea and salad containing them have been fatal to humans.

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