Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Spermolepis echinata

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to perennial herb [shrub, tree], generally from taproot. Stem: generally +- scapose, generally ribbed, hollow. Leaf: basal and generally cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, occasionally compound. Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present in involucres or 0; bractlets generally present in "involucels". Flower: many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally +- ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a +- conic, persistent projection or platform at tip subtending 2 free styles. Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves (= mericarps), separating from each other but generally +- persistent to central axis; ribs on halves 5, 2 marginal, 3 to back; oil tubes 1--several per interval between ribs.
Genera In Family: 300 genera, 3000 species: +- worldwide, especially temperate; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); Bupleurum lancifolium Hornem. is historical garden weed; some toxic (e.g., Conium). Note: Mature fruit generally critical in identification, shape given in outline. Hydrocotyle moved to Araliaceae, Orogenia moved to Lomatium, Sphenosciadium moved to Angelica. Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill is a waif.
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: SpermolepisView Description 

Habit: Annual, taprooted, glabrous. Stem: generally spreading, branched. Leaf: blade [oblong] ovate, +- ternate-pinnately dissected, segments thread-like to linear. Inflorescence: umbels compound, terminal and lateral, peduncled or not; bracts 0; bractlets few, narrow; rays, pedicels 0--few, +- erect, generally +- spreading. Flower: calyx lobes 0; petals oblong to ovate, white, tips not narrowed, not incurved. Fruit: widely ovate, +- compressed side-to-side; ribs low, thread-like; oil tubes 1--3 per rib-interval; fruit axis divided at tip. Seed: face grooved.
Species In Genus: 5 species: southern United States, Hawaii, southern South America. Etymology: (Greek: seed scale, from tubercled or bristly fruit)
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
Spermolepis echinata (DC.) A. Heller
Habit: Plant low, spreading, 5--40 cm. Leaf: ovate; petiole 3--20 mm; blade 7--25 mm wide, segments 2--18 mm, thread-like. Inflorescence: peduncles 1--5 cm; bractlets few, thread-like to linear, entire or toothed; rays 5--14, 1--15 mm, generally +- ascending, unequal; pedicels generally < 7 mm, those of central flower of 2° umbels generally 0. Fruit: 1.5--2 mm wide; ribs prominent, short-bristly. Chromosomes: 2n=16,20.
Ecology: Rocky slopes, sandy flats; Elevation: 60--1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: DSon (Borrego Valley); Distribution Outside California: to southeastern United States, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--Apr
Jepson eFlora Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
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Botanical illustration including Spermolepis echinata

botanical illustration including Spermolepis echinata


Citation for this treatment: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax 2012, Spermolepis echinata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 23, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 23, 2019.

Spermolepis echinata
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Spermolepis echinata
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Spermolepis echinata
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Spermolepis echinata
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Spermolepis echinata in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Spermolepis echinata:
DSon (Borrego Valley)
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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.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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.