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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
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botanical illustration including Lythrum californicum


Citation for this treatment: Shirley A. Graham 2016. Lythrum californicum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 06, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 06, 2016.

Lythrum californicum
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© 2010 James M. Andre
Lythrum californicum
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Lythrum californicum
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Lythrum californicum
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© 2002 Gary A. Monroe
Lythrum californicum
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Lythrum californicum
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© 2011 Neal Kramer

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. 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.