Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Myosurus cupulatus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RanunculaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, woody vine [shrub], occasionally aquatic. Leaf: generally basal and cauline, alternate or opposite, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, occasionally sheathing or stipule-like. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 3--6(20), free, early-deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0--many, generally free; stamens generally 5--many, staminodes generally 0; pistils 1--many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 0--1, generally +- persistent as beak, ovules 1--many. Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, +- utricle in Trautvetteria, in aggregate or not, 1--many-seeded.
Genera In Family: +- 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate, tropical mountains; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Helleborus, Nigella). Toxicity: some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus). Note: Taxa of Isopyrum in TJM (1993) moved to Enemion; Kumlienia moved to Ranunculus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken, family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: MyosurusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: MOUSETAIL
Habit: Annual, short-lived, generally tufted. Leaf: basal, simple, linear. Inflorescence: scapose, 1-flowered. Flower: sepals (3)5(8), 1.5--4 mm, alike, free, green or scarious-margined, spurred; petals 0--5, free, linear to narrowly spoon-shaped, long-clawed, white; stamens 5--25; pistils 10--400, 1--2.5 mm, ovules 1, styles thread-like. Fruit: achene, angled, wall not veined, styles persistent, +- enlarged in fruit; receptacle elongate, generally growing and producing ovules after flower.
Species In Genus: +- 15 species: temperate worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: mus, mouse, and oura, tail)
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan T. Whittemore

Myosurus cupulatus S. Watson
Habit: Plant 3.3--16 cm. Inflorescence: scape 2.2--12 cm. Flower: sepals +- 3-nerved, scarious margin narrow or 0. Fruit: outer face 0.8--1.2 mm, 0.6--1 mm wide, round, occasionally square, bordered with prominent ridge; beak 0.6--1.2 mm, +- divergent from fruit surface; aggregate 13--42 mm, 2--3 mm wide, long-exserted from leaves.
Ecology: Dry hillsides or canyon bottoms in scrub; Elevation: 350--1700 m. Bioregional Distribution: e DMtns; Distribution Outside California: to Texas, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--May
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan T. Whittemore
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Previous taxon: Myosurus apetalus var. montanus
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botanical illustration including Myosurus cupulatus


Citation for this treatment: Alan T. Whittemore 2016. Myosurus cupulatus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Myosurus cupulatus
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© 2005 Keir Morse
Myosurus cupulatus
click for enlargement
© 2005 Keir Morse
Myosurus cupulatus
click for enlargement
© 2005 Keir Morse
Myosurus cupulatus
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© 2006 James M. Andre
Myosurus cupulatus
click for enlargement
© 2005 Keir Morse

More photos of Myosurus cupulatus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Myosurus cupulatus:
e DMtns;
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.