Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Vaccaria hispanica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CaryophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: PINK FAMILY
Habit: Annual to perennial herb; rarely dioecious (Silene), taprooted or rhizome generally slender. Leaf: simple, generally opposite (subwhorled), entire, pairs at nodes often +- connected at bases; stipules generally 0; petiole generally 0. Inflorescence: generally cyme, generally open; flowers 1--many; involucre generally 0 (present in Dianthus, Petrorhagia). Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium often present but obscure; sepals (4)5, +- free or fused into a tube, margins generally scarious, more so on inner 2 or not, tube generally not scarious, awns generally 0; petals (4)5 or 0, generally tapered to base (or with claw long, limb expanded), entire to 2--several-lobed, limb generally without scale-like appendages adaxially, generally without ear-like lobes at base; stamens generally 10, generally fertile, generally free, generally from ovary base; nectaries 0 or 5; ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, placentas basal or free-central, styles 2--5 with 0 branches or 1 with 2--3 branches. Fruit: capsule or utricle (rarely +- dehiscent), generally sessile. Seed: appendage generally 0 (present in Moehringia).
Genera In Family: 83 or 89 genera, 3000 species: widespread, especially arctic, alpine, temperate northern hemisphere; some cultivated (Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Sagina, Saponaria, Silene, Vaccaria). Note: Apetalous Caryophyllaceae can also be keyed in Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:5--8.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: VaccariaView Description 

Common Name: COW-HERB

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Latin: cow, from use as fodder or prevalence in pastures)
Reference: Thieret & Rabeler 2005 FNANM 5:156
Vaccaria hispanica (Mill.) Rauschert
Habit: Annual (8)20--100 cm, glabrous, glaucous, taprooted. Leaf: 2--12 cm, petioled or not; blade lanceolate to ovate, base rounded to cordate-clasping; vein 1. Inflorescence: terminal, +- flat-topped, open; flowers 10--70+; bracts paired, leaf-like; pedicels 5--40+ mm. Flower: sepals 5, fused, glabrous, tube prominent, 7.5--17 mm, 1.5--9 mm diam, cylindric to urn-shaped, angles or keels 5, each with +- green wing < 1 mm wide; veins 5, teeth 1.5--3 mm, ovate to triangular; petals 5, 15--25 mm, claw long, limb oblanceolate to obovate or obcordate, pink to +- red, unappendaged; styles 2, 10--12 mm. Fruit: capsule, ovoid; stalk 0.5--1 mm; teeth 4, ascending to recurved. Seed: many, 1.6--1.8 mm, +- spheric, red-brown to black; tubercles fine, low. Chromosomes: 2n=30.
Ecology: Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 2800 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoR, CaRH, c SNF, n SNH, Teh, ScV, CW, SCo, PR, GB; Distribution Outside California: +- North America; native to Eurasia, Mediterranean. Flowering Time: May--Aug Note: Likely eradicated from grain fields.
Synonyms: Saponaria hispanica Mill.; Saponaria vaccaria L.; Vaccaria segetalis (Necker) Asch.;
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler
Reference: Thieret & Rabeler 2005 FNANM 5:156
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Citation for this treatment: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler 2012, Vaccaria hispanica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2018.

Vaccaria hispanica
click for enlargement
© 2009 George W. Hartwell
Vaccaria hispanica
click for enlargement
© 2009 George W. Hartwell
Vaccaria hispanica
click for enlargement
© 2009 George W. Hartwell

More photos of Vaccaria hispanica in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Vaccaria hispanica:
KR, NCoR, CaRH, c SNF, n SNH, Teh, ScV, CW, SCo, PR, 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.