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Caulanthus heterophyllus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to shrub; sap pungent, watery. Leaf: generally simple, alternate; generally both basal, cauline; stipules 0. Inflorescence: generally raceme, generally not bracted. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals 4, generally free; petals (0)4, forming a cross, generally white or yellow to purple; stamens generally 6 (2 or 4), 4 long, 2 short (3 pairs of unequal length); ovary 1, superior, generally 2-chambered with septum connecting 2 parietal placentas; style 1, stigma entire or 2-lobed. Fruit: capsule, generally 2-valved, "silique" (length >= 3 × width) or "silicle" (length < 3 × width), dehiscent by 2 valves or indehiscent, cylindric or flat parallel or perpendicular to septum, segmented or not. Seed: 1--many, in 1 or 2 rows per chamber, winged or wingless; embryo strongly curved.
Genera In Family: +- 330 genera, 3780 species: worldwide, especially temperate. Note: Highest diversity in Mediterranean area, mountains of southwestern Asia, adjacent central Asia, western North America; some Brassica species are oil or vegetable crops; Arabidopsis thaliana used in experimental molecular biology; many species are ornamentals, weeds. Aurinia saxatilis (L.) Desvaux in cultivation only. Aubrieta occasional waif in central NCoR, Carrichtera annua (L.) DC. in SCo, Iberis sempervirens L., Iberis umbellata L. in PR, Teesdalia coronopifolia (Bergeret) Thell., Teesdalia nudicaulis (L.) W.T. Aiton in southern NCoRO, CCo. Cardaria, Coronopus moved to Lepidium; Caulostramina to Hesperidanthus; Guillenia to Caulanthus; Heterodraba to Athysanus; California taxa of Lesquerella to Physaria; Malcolmia africana to Strigosella.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CaulanthusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb, glabrous or hairs simple (forked). Leaf: basal rosetted or not, petioled, entire, dentate or pinnately lobed, generally deciduous; cauline petioled, or sessile with bases lobed or sagittate. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: calyx urn-shaped or cylindric, sepals erect (spreading), base sac-like or not; petals yellow, purple, brown, or white, generally channeled, margin wavy or not; stamens in 3 pairs of equal length, or 4 long and 2 short, (all equal), free or filaments of longer pair(s) fused. Fruit: silique, linear, dehiscent, unsegmented, +- sessile, cylindric (flat perpendicular or parallel to septum); stigma entire or 2-lobed. Seed: 24--210, 1 row per chamber, oblong to ovate (+- spheric), plump, wing 0.
Species In Genus: 17 species: southwestern United States, northwestern Mexico. Etymology: (Greek: stem flower, in reference to insertion of flowers along stem)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz

Caulanthus heterophyllus (Nutt.) Payson
Habit: Annual, bristly proximally. Stem: erect, 2.5--12 dm, not inflated, generally branched distally. Leaf: basal 1--10 cm, linear-oblanceolate to linear-oblong, coarsely dentate to pinnately lobed; cauline sessile, lance-linear, entire or dentate, base lobed to clasping. Inflorescence: terminal sterile flower cluster 0. Flower: sepals 4--9 mm, purple or yellow to creamy white; petals 6--15 mm, margins not wavy, purple or +- yellow, veins darker purple. Fruit: reflexed, 4.5--10 cm, 1--1.5 mm wide, flat parallel to septum or 4-sided; style 0.5--3.5 mm, stigma +- 2-lobed; pedicel reflexed, 2--8 mm. Seed: 56--82, 1.2--2 mm, oblong; cotyledons entire. Chromosomes: 2n=28.
Ecology: Dry, open scrub, chaparral, generally after fire, disturbance; Elevation: < 1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: e SCoRO (La Panza Range), SCo and s PR (common in both), ChI and TR (uncommon in both); Distribution Outside California: Baja California. Flowering Time: Mar--May Note: 2 varieties in TJM (1993) based on minor flower color differences.
Synonyms: Caulanthus heterophyllus var. pseudosimulans R.E. Buck, ined.; Streptanthus heterophyllus Nutt.; Caulanthus stenocarpus Payson; Guillenia heterophylla (Nutt.) O.E. Schulz;
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
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botanical illustration including Caulanthus heterophyllus


Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Caulanthus heterophyllus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 10, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 10, 2018.

Caulanthus heterophyllus
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Caulanthus heterophyllus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Caulanthus heterophyllus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Caulanthus heterophyllus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Caulanthus heterophyllus
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Caulanthus heterophyllus
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© 2009 Aaron Schusteff

More photos of Caulanthus heterophyllus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Caulanthus heterophyllus:
e SCoRO (La Panza Range), SCo and s PR (common in both), ChI and TR (uncommon in both);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.