Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Key to families | Table of families and genera | Map
Previous taxon Index to accepted names and synonyms:
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Next taxon
Lythrum californicum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: LythraceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, tree. Stem: 4-angled or cylindric. Leaf: simple, entire, generally opposite, 4-ranked (alternate, whorled). Inflorescence: flowers terminal or in axils of upper leaves or leaf-like bracts, 1 or in +- dense cymes or along short shoots, sessile or not, subtended by [0]2 bractlets. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; hypanthium bell-shaped to cylindric, membranous or leathery, persistent in fruit; sepals appearing as hypanthium lobes, 4--9, epicalyx lobes alternate sepals or 0; petals, stamens inserted on inner hypanthium; petals 4--6 or 0, alternate sepals, crinkled, deciduous; stamens generally = or 2 × sepals, included or exserted; ovary generally superior, chambers 2--6[many], style generally slender, stigma head-like. Fruit: dry capsule or leathery berry, dehiscent into 2--4 valves or irregularly. Seed: 3--many.
Genera In Family: +- 28 genera, 600 species: temperate, tropics, generally in wet habitats. Some ornamental or cultivated for medicine, dyes. Note: "Epicalyx lobes" (lobes on calyx) formerly called "appendages," "hypanthium" in Lythraceae (and Onagraceae) including receptacle, sometimes called "flower cup" or "flower tube". Punicaceae (Punica) included here.
eFlora Treatment Author: Shirley A. Graham
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: LythrumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: prostrate to erect, often 4-angled. Leaf: opposite, alternate, or whorled, linear to ovate or obovate, petiole 0 to short. Inflorescence: flowers generally 1--2 per axil, sessile or not. Flower: radial to +- bilateral, of 1--3 style forms (heterostylous); hypanthium cylindric or bell-shaped, ribs generally conspicuous; sepals 4--6, deltate, epicalyx lobes < to > sepals; petals 4--6 or 0; stamens 4--6 or 12, included or exserted; styles < to > stamens. Fruit: capsule, generally cylindric, rarely spheric, valves 2. Seed: many, < 1 mm.
Species In Genus: +- 35 species: temperate. Etymology: (Greek: clotted blood, from use of Lythrum salicaria, the first named sp., to stop hemorrhaging, according to Gerard, Bull Torrey Bot Club 12: 60. 1885)

Lythrum californicum Torr. & A. Gray
Habit: Perennial herb, heterostylous. Stem: erect, 2--6 dm, gray-glaucous; branches many, above. Leaf: 1--7 cm, +- gray-glaucous, lower opposite, linear to lance-linear, upper alternate, linear. Inflorescence: flowers 1--2 per axil, pedicel 1--3 mm. Flower: of 2 style forms; hypanthium 4--7 mm, cylindric, 2--3 × longer than wide; sepals < 1 mm, epicalyx lobes < to > sepals, horn-like; petals 4--8 mm, purple; stamens generally 6, included or exserted; style included or exserted. Fruit: ovoid, +- = hypanthium. Chromosomes: 2n=20.
Ecology: Marshes, pond and stream margins; Elevation: < 2200 m. Bioregional Distribution: s NCoRI, SNF, s SNH, GV, CW, SW, W&I, D; Distribution Outside California: to central United States, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Apr--Sep
Synonyms: Lythrum alatum Pursh var. linearifolium A. Gray; Lythrum sanfordii Greene
eFlora Treatment Author: Shirley A. Graham
Jepson Online Interchange

Previous taxon: Lythrum
Next taxon: Lythrum hyssopifolia

Name Search
botanical illustration including Lythrum californicum


Citation for this treatment: Shirley A. Graham 2017. Lythrum californicum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 20, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 20, 2017.

Lythrum californicum
click for enlargement
© 2015 Steve Matson
Lythrum californicum
click for enlargement
© 2010 James M. Andre
Lythrum californicum
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Lythrum californicum
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Lythrum californicum
click for enlargement
© 2013 Neal Kramer
Lythrum californicum
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson

More photos of Lythrum californicum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Lythrum californicum:
s NCoRI, SNF, s SNH, GV, CW, SW, W&I, D;
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.