Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Harpagonella palmeri

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BoraginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub or small tree, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, generally simple, generally alternate. Inflorescence: generally cymes, or panicle-, raceme-, head-, or spike-like, generally coiled in flower (often described as scorpioid), generally elongating in fruit, or flowers 1--2 per axil. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals (4)5(10), fused at least at base, or free; corolla (4)5(10)-lobed, salverform, funnel-shaped, rotate, or bell-shaped, generally without scales at tube base, with 0 or 5 appendages at tube top, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary generally superior, entire to 4-lobed, style 1(2), entire or 2-lobed or -branched. Fruit: valvate or circumscissile capsule or nutlets 1--4, free (fused), smooth to roughened, prickly or bristly or not.
Genera In Family: +- 120 genera, +- 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum, Wigandia). Toxicity: Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. Note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. Wigandia urens added, as naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera, treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.
Genus: HarpagonellaView Description 

Species In Genus: 2 spp.: southern California, southern Arizona, northern Baja California, northern Sonora. Etymology: (Latin: small grappling hook, from calyx spines)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley & Timothy C. Messick
Unabridged Reference: Veno 1979 Ph.D. Dissertation Univ of California, Los Angeles
Harpagonella palmeri A. Gray
Stem: ascending to erect, 3--30 cm. Inflorescence: pedicels in fruit 0.5--1 mm, twisted. Flower: calyx > nutlets, upper 2 lobes >> others, partly fused, arched over 1 nutlet, +- bur-like, with 5--10 stout spines each with hooked bristles, lower 3 lobes distinct; corolla +- 1 mm diam, +- funnel-shaped, white. Fruit: nutlets 2, spreading, 1--4 mm, dissimilar, +- oblanceolate, margins entire. Chromosomes: 2n=24.
Ecology: Dry, semi-barren sites in chaparral, coastal scrub, grassland; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: SCo, PR, sw DSon; Distribution Outside California: northern Baja California. Flowering Time: Mar--Apr Note: May be indistinct from Pectocarya; needs study.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald B. Kelley & Timothy C. Messick
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Botanical illustration including Harpagonella palmeri

botanical illustration including Harpagonella palmeri


Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley & Timothy C. Messick 2012, Harpagonella palmeri, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 19, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 19, 2019.

Harpagonella palmeri
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Harpagonella palmeri
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Harpagonella palmeri
click for enlargement
© 2015 Keir Morse
Harpagonella palmeri
click for enlargement
© 2015 Keir Morse
Harpagonella palmeri
click for enlargement
© 2015 Keir Morse
Harpagonella palmeri
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Harpagonella palmeri in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Harpagonella palmeri:
SCo, PR, sw DSon
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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.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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.