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Zygophyllum fabago

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ZygophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, often armed; caudex present or not. Stem: branched; nodes often angled, swollen. Leaf: 1-compound, opposite, petioled; stipules persistent or not; leaflets entire. Inflorescence: flowers 1--2 in axils. Flower: bisexual; sepals 5, free, persistent or not; petals 5, free, generally spreading, twisted (corolla propeller-like) or not; stamens 10, appendaged on inside base or not; ovary superior, chambers (and lobes) 5--10, each with 1--several ovules, placentas axile. Fruit: capsule or splitting into 5--10 nutlets (= mericarps).
Genera In Family: 27 genera, +- 250 species: widespread especially in warm, dry regions; some cultivated (Guaiacum, lignum vitae; Tribulus, caltrop).
eFlora Treatment Author: Duncan M. Porter
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ZygophyllumView Description 

Common Name: BEAN-CAPER
Habit: Perennial herb, unarmed; caudex woody. Stem: branched, fleshy. Leaf: stipules +- leaf-like or membranous; leaflets 2 [> 2], free, fleshy. Inflorescence: flowers 1--2 in axils. Flower: sepals often unequal, overlapping, deciduous or not; petals +- erect, white, yellow, or orange, base sometimes orange or red. Fruit: capsule, cylindric to spheric, 5-angled, septicidal. Seed: 1--few per chamber.
Species In Genus: +- 70 species: Eurasia, southern Africa, Australia. Etymology: (Greek: yoke leaf, from sometimes oblique leaflets)

Zygophyllum fabago L.
Stem: erect, glabrous, < 1 m. Leaf: leaflets < 4.5 cm, 3 cm wide, obliquely ovate; awn between leaflets 1 mm, +- persistent. Flower: 6--7 mm; sepals +- = petals; stamens exserted, appendages < stamens, +- linear, divided at tip. Fruit: 25--35 mm, oblong-cylindric; style persistent, thread-like, < 7 mm; pedicel reflexed.
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: s NCoRO, SnJV, D; Distribution Outside California: to Kansas, Texas, also in New York, Pennsylvania, native to Mediterranean, central Asia. Flowering Time: Summer Note: Forms large colonies; flower buds have been used in place of capers.
Synonyms: Zygophyllum fabago var. brachycarpum Boiss.
eFlora Treatment Author: Duncan M. Porter
Jepson Online Interchange
Noxious Weed

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botanical illustration including Zygophyllum fabago


Citation for this treatment: Duncan M. Porter 2016. Zygophyllum fabago, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 06, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 06, 2016.

Geographic subdivisions for Zygophyllum fabago:
s NCoRO, SnJV, D;
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.