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Plagiobothrys cusickii

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 cusickii (Greene) I.M. Johnst.
Habit: Annual, +- strigose. Stem: erect to occasionally prostrate, 0.5--3+ dm, +- branched above base. Leaf: cauline, lower 3--10 cm. Inflorescence: bracts below middle to throughout. Flower: calyx 1.5--4 mm, strigose; corolla limb 1--2 mm diam. Fruit: nutlet 1--1.6 mm, +- flat, ovate, asymmetric, shiny; abaxial ridge short, near tip, lateral ridges obscure, cross-ribs +- evenly spaced, rounded, interspaces +- tubercled (bristled or scabrous); adaxial ridge beyond middle, +- folded to 1 side below; scar near base, occasionally oblique, generally hollow, +- oblong, with thin, +- incurved margins, sunken.
Ecology: Wet, muddy areas, flats in sagebrush scrub, conifer forest; Elevation: (60)450--2100 m. Bioregional Distribution: s NCoRI, CaRH, n&c SNH, sw ScV, GB; Distribution Outside California: to eastern Washington, Idaho, Nevada. Flowering Time: May--Aug
Synonyms: Plagiobothrys scouleri (Hook. & Arn.) I.M. Johnst. var. cusickii (Greene) L.C. Higgins; Plagiobothrys scouleri var. penicillatus (Greene) Cronquist, in part;
Unabridged Note: Evidently much less common than Plagiobothrys cognatus (see also note there) in MP, northern SNH, and than Plagiobothrys hispidulus in CaRH, SNH possibly due to more specialized habitat requirements. Collections western of the Sierran-Cascade, if verified, may indicate introductions there. Verified collections from ScV, NCoRI need study.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley
Unabridged Reference: Horn 2000 Ph.D. Dissertation Univ Munich; Johnston 1932 Contr Arnold Arboretum 3:1--102
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botanical illustration including Plagiobothrys cusickii


Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley 2012, Plagiobothrys cusickii, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 20, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 20, 2018.

Plagiobothrys cusickii
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Plagiobothrys cusickii
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Plagiobothrys cusickii
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Plagiobothrys cusickii
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Plagiobothrys cusickii in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Plagiobothrys cusickii:
s NCoRI, CaRH, n&c SNH, sw ScV, GB;
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).

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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, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.