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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.



Richard Spellenberg

Perennial, shrub, tree, glabrous or hairy
Stem often forked
Leaves opposite, sessile or petioled, pairs generally unequal; blade generally entire
Inflorescence generally forked; of spikes, clusters, or umbels, each unit sometimes with a calyx-like involucre
Flower bisexual, radial; perianth of 1 whorl, petal-like, bell- to trumpet-shaped, base hardened, tightly surrounding ovary in fruit, lobes 4–5, generally notched to ± bilateral; stamens 1–many; ovary superior (appearing inferior because of hardened perianth base), style 1
Fruit: achene or nut, smooth, wrinkled, or ribbed
Genera in family: 30 genera, 300 species: warm regions, especially Am; some ornamental (Bougainvillea ; Mirabilis , four o'clock).



Perennial, subshrub
Stem repeatedly forked, decumbent to erect
Leaf generally petioled
Inflorescence forked; calyx-like involucres densely clustered or solitary in axils, bell- to saucer-shaped; flowers 1–16 per involucre, blooming sequentially
Flower: perianth funnel- to bell-shaped, lobes 5; stamens 3–5, generally exserted; stigma ± spheric, generally exserted
Fruit ± round to club-shaped, smooth to 5-ribbed; wing 0
Species in genus: ± 60 species: Am, Himalayas
Etymology: (Latin: wonderful)
Fls open in evening, close in morning. Spp. intergrade; Hermidium , Oxybaphus sometimes segregated, but intergrade with other species; careful study needed. [Pilz 1978 Madroño 25:113–132]


M. californica A. Gray


Stem trailing to ascending, < 8 dm, somewhat woody, aging grayish, scabrous or ± glandular-hairy
Leaf: blade 1–3.5 cm, ovate, puberulent or glandular-hairy
Inflorescence: involucres clustered near ends of branches, bell-shaped; bracts 5, 5–8 mm, > 1/2 fused, lobes ovate; flower 1 per involucre
Flower: perianth 5–14 mm, broadly funnel-shaped, pink to purple-red (white)
Fruit ± 5 mm, ovoid, generally lightly dotted or wrinkled, glabrous
Ecology: Common. Grassy areas, chaparral, dunes, dry rocky areas and washes
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast, South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, w edge Desert
Distribution outside California: Baja California
Flowering time: Mostly Dec–Jun
Synonyms: M. laevis (Benth.) Curran var. laevis misapplied; var. cedrosensis (Standl.) J.F. Macbr
Poorly distinguished morphologically and geographically from M. bigelovii; these may prove to be infraspecific entities in a moree broadly conceived species
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY, SUN: 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
Recent taxonomic note: Mirabilis laevis (Benth.) Curran var. crassifolia (Choisy) Spellenb.

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