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Vascular Plants of California
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Cistanthe ambigua
DESERT CISTANTHE


Higher Taxonomy
Family: MontiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: MINER'S LETTUCE FAMILY
Habit: Annual to perennial herb; generally fleshy. Stem: 1--many, generally glabrous. Leaf: simple, alternate or opposite. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal; cyme, raceme, panicle, umbel, or flower 1. Flower: bisexual, radial; sepals generally 2(9), free; petals (1)2--19, free or +- fused; stamens 1--many, epipetalous or not, anthers pink, rose, or yellow; ovary superior, chamber 1, ovules 1--many, placenta basal or free-central; styles (0)1--8, generally fused at base, branched. Fruit: capsule, circumscissile or 2--3-valved. Seed: 1--many, shiny or +- pebbly or sculptured, black or gray, generally with oil-filled appendage as food for ants.
Genera In Family: +- 22 genera, +- 230 species: generally temperate America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Kerguelen Is, New Zealand, southern Africa, poorly represented in Europe; some cultivated (Lewisia, Calandrinia). Note: All CA genera previously included in Portulacaceae; details of flowers, seeds require 20× magnification.
Unabridged Note: May include Hectorellaceae.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CistantheView DescriptionDichotomous Key


Habit: Annual [perennial herb], +- fleshy, from taproot or fibrous roots, generally glabrous. Stem: generally several, generally spreading to ascending. Leaf: cauline [basal and cauline], simple, linear to spoon-shaped, fleshy; basal rosetted. Inflorescence: scapose, raceme, panicle, or umbel, bracts leaf-like or not; bracts generally < sepals, scarious; flowers generally on 1 side of axis, deciduous or not in fruit. Flower: sepals 2, ovate, green, scarious-margined or not, persistent in fruit; petals 5, > sepals; stamens 5--10, anthers yellow; style 1, stigmas 3. Fruit: 3-valved, ovoid. Seed: 6--many, shiny or dull, black or gray [dark brownish red].
Species In Genus: 25--35 species: America. Etymology: (Greek: rockrose-flower)
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & C. Matt Guilliams
Reference: Hershkovitz 2006 Gayana Bot 63:13--74
Unabridged Reference: Hershkovitz 1990 Phytologia 68:267--270; Hershkovitz 1991a Ann Missouri Bot Gard 78:1009--1021; Hershkovitz 1991b Phytologia 70:209--225; Hershkovitz 1992 Syst Bot 17:220--238; Hershkovitz & Zimmer 2000 Molec Phylogen Evol 15:419--439; Hinton 1975 Brittonia 27:197--208; Kelley et al. 2003 FNANM 4:460--464.
Cistanthe ambigua (S. Watson) Carolin ex Hershk.
NATIVE
Stem: spreading to erect. Leaf: 1.5--6 cm, linear to +- spoon-shaped, +- cylindric. Inflorescence: panicle of umbel-like clusters, compact; bracts scarious; pedicel 1--3 mm, straight in fruit. Flower: sepals 2--5 mm, glabrous, margins white-scarious; petals 3--5, 2--5 mm; stamens 5--7(10). Fruit: < calyx. Seed: 6--15, 1--2 mm wide, +- elliptic to ovate, shiny, glabrous, black.
Ecology: Desert scrub, sandy to silty soil, often alkaline; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: D; Distribution Outside California: southwestern Arizona, northwestern Mexico. Flowering Time: Feb--May
Synonyms: Calandrinia ambigua (S. Watson) Howell
Unabridged Note: Belongs in neither Calandrinia nor Cistanthe, and might better be treated as a separate, monotypic genus, according to Hershovitz (pers. comm.).
Jepson eFlora Author: John M. Miller & C. Matt Guilliams
Reference: Hershkovitz 2006 Gayana Bot 63:13--74
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Botanical illustration including Cistanthe ambigua

botanical illustration including Cistanthe ambigua

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Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & C. Matt Guilliams 2012, Cistanthe ambigua, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=19501, accessed on October 15, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/, accessed on October 15, 2019.

Cistanthe ambigua
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Cistanthe ambigua
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Cistanthe ambigua
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Cistanthe ambigua
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Cistanthe ambigua
click for enlargement
© 2011 Aaron E. Sims
Cistanthe ambigua
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer

More photos of Cistanthe ambigua in CalPhotos



Geographic subdivisions for Cistanthe ambigua:
D
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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.