Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
Key to families | Table of families and genera
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

Plagiobothrys bracteatus

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: PlagiobothrysView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual (perennial herb), generally strigose to spreading-hairy; fibrous- to taprooted, staining red dye present or not. Stem: branched at base or above, < 5 dm. Leaf: cauline or basal and cauline, 0.5--10 cm, generally smaller tipward, linear to oblanceolate. Inflorescence: raceme- or spike-like cymes, coiled in bud, generally elongate in fruit; bracts 0--many. Flower: calyx lobes fused below middle, 2--10 mm in fruit; corolla rotate to funnel-shaped or cylindric, white or white with yellow area, tube generally +- yellow inside, limb 1--12 mm diam, appendages prominent to minute, white to yellow. Fruit: nutlets generally 4, +- ovate (triangular to +- lanceolate), rarely on narrow stalk or short peg, variously roughened, abaxially generally with central ridge, lateral ridges, cross-ribs, generally tubercled, occasionally prickly or bristly; adaxially keeled above attachment scar, scar on side generally near middle to base, sometimes on bottom or oblique (on angle between side and bottom), generally raised.
Species In Genus: +- 65 species: temperate western North America, western South America, northeastern Asia, Australia. Etymology: (Greek: sideways pit, from position of nutlet attachment scar) Note: Nutlet characters in key generally best for 3 nutlets farthest from stem; yellow on corolla changes to white after pollination.
Unabridged Note: Fully mature nutlets needed for identification; in many species nutlet closest to stem often more firmly attached, larger, differently textured, and with completely different attachment scar than other 3; nutlet characters used in key focus on 3 more loosely attached nutlets. Intergradation common in some species groups; reticulate speciation in genus; sect. Allocarya often treated as separate genus; many species need study. Corolla size can diminish markedly during flower period. Yellow corolla appendages and, if present, contrasting yellow corolla centers, change to white after successful pollination.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley
Unabridged Reference: Horn 2000 Ph.D. Dissertation Univ Munich; Johnston 1932 Contr Arnold Arboretum 3:1--102
Plagiobothrys bracteatus (Howell) I.M. Johnst.
Habit: Annual, sparse- to dense-strigose. Stem: generally ascending, occasionally decumbent, generally 1--4 dm. Leaf: basal lanceolate, hairs bulbous-based; lower cauline 3--10 cm. Inflorescence: bracts below middle. Flower: calyx 2--4 mm, strigose; corolla limb 1--3 mm diam, appendages pale yellow. Fruit: nutlet 1--1.8 mm, +- flat, lance-ovate, +- symmetric, +- dull; abaxial ridge short, near tip, lateral ridges +- arched, cross-ribs high, +- crowded, especially toward tip, interspaces narrow, tubercled, generally glabrous (bristly); margins with narrow border; adaxial ridge near middle, not folded to 1 side, not in trough; scar oblique, +- ovate to wide-triangular; +- sunken by surrounding ridge.
Ecology: Common. Vernal pools, wet places in grassland, coastal-sage scrub, chaparral; Elevation: < 2000 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN (exc s SNH), ScV, n SnJV, CW, SCo, PR, MP, w DMoj; Distribution Outside California: southwestern Oregon, northwestern Mexico. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun
Synonyms: Plagiobothrys bracteatus var. aculeolatus (Piper) I.M. Johnst.;
Unabridged Note: Highly variable; possibly the most common, widespread wetland member of genus western of Sierran-Cascade ridge at low to mid-elevations. If recognized taxonomically, plants with bristly nutlets in northern ScV assignable to Plagiobothrys bracteatus var. aculeolatus (Piper) I.M. Johnst., which has been confused with Plagiobothrys leptocladus. See note under Plagiobothrys cognatus.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald B. Kelley
Unabridged Reference: Horn 2000 Ph.D. Dissertation Univ Munich; Johnston 1932 Contr Arnold Arboretum 3:1--102
Jepson Online Interchange

Previous taxon: Plagiobothrys austiniae
Next taxon: Plagiobothrys canescens

Name Search

Botanical illustration including Plagiobothrys bracteatus

botanical illustration including Plagiobothrys bracteatus


Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley 2012, Plagiobothrys bracteatus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 18, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 18, 2018.

Plagiobothrys bracteatus
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson
Plagiobothrys bracteatus
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Plagiobothrys bracteatus
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Plagiobothrys bracteatus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Neal Kramer
Plagiobothrys bracteatus
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Plagiobothrys bracteatus
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse

More photos of Plagiobothrys bracteatus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Plagiobothrys bracteatus:
NW, CaR, SN (exc s SNH), ScV, n SnJV, CW, SCo, PR, MP, w DMoj;
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, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.