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Hydrophyllum occidentale

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: HydrophyllumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: WATERLEAF
Habit: [Biennial or] perennial herb from rhizomes [taproots]; roots fleshy-fibrous and fibrous [or tuber-like]. Stem: suberect to erect, simple or branched, fleshy, or 0 and leaves from rhizomes. Leaf: simple, pinnate-[palmate-]lobed, or compound, basal or cauline, alternate, mottled white in shade; petiole widened, proximally purple, bases clasping, persistent, fleshy, juicy; leaflets toothed or lobed, hairy, generally paler abaxially, basal pair free, terminal +- united. Inflorescence: generally branched, generally head-like cymes; peduncles proximally purplish, in fruit erect or recurved; pedicels generally elongate, in fruit spreading or recurved. Flower: calyx bell-shaped, lobes generally equal, generally +- alike, linear to narrowly oblong or lanceolate, acute to obtuse, glabrous or hairy, generally ciliate, generally +- enlarging in fruit, sinus appendages 0 [present]; corolla lobed to middle, > calyx, bell-shaped, white, cream, +- green, purple, or blue, tube with linear scales at base forming channeled pollinator guide, lobes with nectary gland on midvein, hairy; stamens equal, exserted, filaments at mid-level generally hairy; ovary chamber 1, placentas parietal, style 1, exserted, glabrous, cleft < 1/4, stigmas 2, base persistent, disk proximal to ovary. Fruit: capsule, 3--5 mm, spheric; tip generally bristly, loosely enclosed by calyx. Seed: 1--4, oblong to spheric, brown or yellow- or red-brown, net-like, fleshy appendages 0. Chromosomes: 2n=18.
Species In Genus: 11 species: North America; some cultivated as ornamentals. Etymology: (Greek: water leaf) Note: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum raised to species rank, as Hydrophyllum alpestre.
eFlora Treatment Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse

Hydrophyllum occidentale (S. Watson) A. Gray
Habit: Plant 6--60 cm; rhizome short to elongate. Stem: short-hairy or with reflexed bristles. Leaf: petiole 2--15 cm; blade 5--40 cm, oblong to oblong-ovate, deep-lobed to compound, leaflets 0 or 7--15, oblong, entire or deep-cut, obtuse or acute, teeth generally 2--4 per side, proximal leaflet pairs generally distinct, terminal merged. Inflorescence: well above ground, generally > subtending leaves; peduncle 5--30 cm, in fruit erect; pedicels 2--6 mm, in fruit to 10 mm, recurved. Flower: calyx lobes 3--4 mm; corolla 6--10 mm, lobes 4--6 mm, white to lavender or white with lavender marks; anthers 1--2 mm; style 7--19 mm. Seed: generally 2, +- 3 mm, brown.
Ecology: Moist, shaded slopes, woodland, meadows, streambanks, chaparral, including serpentine soils; Elevation: [70]375--3000 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, ScV, SnFrB; Distribution Outside California: to Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
eFlora Treatment Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse
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botanical illustration including Hydrophyllum occidentale


Citation for this treatment: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse 2016. Hydrophyllum occidentale, Revision 2, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Hydrophyllum occidentale
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© 2007 George W. Hartwell
Hydrophyllum occidentale
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© 2005 Steve Matson
Hydrophyllum occidentale
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Hydrophyllum occidentale
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© 2008 George W. Hartwell
Hydrophyllum occidentale
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Hydrophyllum occidentale
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© 1991 Gary A. Monroe

More photos of Hydrophyllum occidentale in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Hydrophyllum occidentale:
NW, CaR, SN, ScV, SnFrB;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.