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Orthocarpus luteus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: OrobanchaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub; often glandular; root-parasites, roots modified into absorptive structures. Stem: generally round in ×-section. Leaf: generally simple, generally alternate, reduced to +- fleshy scales in non-green plants lacking chlorophyll; stipules generally 0. Inflorescence: spike to panicle, generally bracted, or flowers 1--2 in axils. Flower: bisexual; calyx lobes 0--5; corolla generally strongly bilateral, generally 2-lipped (upper lip generally 2-lobed, lower lip generally 3-lobed), abaxial lobes outside other lobes in bud; stamens epipetalous, 4 in 2 pairs (sometimes 1 pair sterile), additional staminode 0(1), anther sacs unequal; ovary superior, chambers 1--2, placentas 2--4, parietal, style 1, stigma lobes 0 or 2. Fruit: capsule, generally +- ovoid, loculicidal, valves 2--4. Seed: many, small, angled; surface smooth or netted.
Genera In Family: 99 genera, 2060 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate and Africa. Note: High yield losses in many crops caused by Orobanche species in Africa, Mediterranean, Middle East, and eastern Europe.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Robert Patterson, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: OrthocarpusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, green. Leaf: alternate, sessile, entire to 3-lobed. Inflorescence: spike; bracts generally distinct from leaves, 1 per flower, entire to 5-lobed, tips generally colored. Flower: calyx unequally 4-lobed, deepest sinus adaxial; corolla club-shaped, upper lip folded lengthwise, tip rounded, closed, opening directed downward forming a hood enclosing anthers and style, lower lip shorter, +- 3-pouched, (0)3-toothed; stamens 4, anther sacs 2, unequal; style, stigma slender. Fruit: generally +- notched. Seed: generally 8--15, often +- curved, +- keeled, attached at side; coat netted or ridged, tight-fitting.
Species In Genus: 9 species: western North America. Etymology: (Greek: straight fruit) Note: Close to Cordylanthus; other species formerly placed here are Castilleja (owl's-clovers) or Triphysaria (Johnny-tuck).
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, T.I. Chuang & Lawrence R. Heckard

Orthocarpus luteus Nutt.
Habit: Plant 10--40 cm, yellow-green, often becoming +- purple-tinged, glandular- and longer-nonglandular-hairy. Stem: generally simple, slender. Leaf: 15--50 mm, +- linear, entire or upper deeply 3-lobed. Inflorescence: 5--20 cm, densely glandular-puberulent; bracts grading into distal leaves, 10--20 mm, +- green, 2 lateral lobes proximal to middle, narrowly triangular, central lobe +- lanceolate, 2--5 mm wide. Flower: calyx 5--8 mm, divided 1/3 abaxially, 3/4 adaxially, 1/4 on sides; corolla 10--15 mm, golden-yellow, exserted, puberulent (especially beak), lips +- equal, beak 2--4 mm, tip obscurely hooked, downward-projecting, cylindric, lower lip moderately pouched, teeth 3, 0.5 mm, blunt, incurved; stigma included. Fruit: 5--7 mm. Seed: 20--35, +- yellow to dark brown. Chromosomes: 2n=28.
Ecology: Moist fields, sagebrush scrub, mountain meadows; Elevation: 1300--3000 m. Bioregional Distribution: GB, adjacent edges; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, north-central United States, New Mexico. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, T.I. Chuang & Lawrence R. Heckard
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botanical illustration including Orthocarpus luteus


Citation for this treatment: Margriet Wetherwax, T.I. Chuang & Lawrence R. Heckard 2016. Orthocarpus luteus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Orthocarpus luteus
click for enlargement
© 2005 Christopher L. Christie
Orthocarpus luteus
click for enlargement
© 2005 Christopher L. Christie

More photos of Orthocarpus luteus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Orthocarpus luteus:
GB, adjacent edges;
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.