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Vascular Plants of California
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Dimorphotheca fruticosa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, simple to 2+ × compound. Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, resembling a flower, of several types (see below), 1--many in generally +- cyme-like cluster; each head generally with +- calyx-like involucre of 1--many series of phyllaries (involucre bracts); receptacle of head flat to conic or columnar, paleate (bearing paleae = receptacle bracts) or epaleate; flowers 1--many per head. Flower: bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, +- small, of several types (see below); calyx 0 or modified into +- persistent pappus of bristles, scales, and/or awns; corolla radial or bilateral (0), lobes generally (0)3--5; stamens 4--5, filaments generally free, generally fused to corolla at tube/throat junction, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, anther base generally rounded or cordate (deeply sagittate or with tail-like appendages), tip (= flattened appendage) generally projecting beyond pollen sac; pistil 1, 2-carpeled, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, placenta basal, style 1, tip generally +- 2-branched (except in some staminate disk flowers), branch tips truncate or generally bearing +- brush-like appendages; stigmas 2, generally on adaxial faces of style branches. Fruit: achene (also called a cypsela) (drupe in Chrysanthemoides), cylindric to ovoid, sometimes compressed, generally deciduous with pappus attached.
Genera In Family: +- 1500 genera, 23000 species: worldwide, many habitats. Note: Flower and head types differ in form and sexual condition. A disk flower has a generally radial corolla, with a cylindric tube, expanded throat, and generally 5 lobes. Disk flowers are generally bisexual and fertile but occasionally staminate with reduced ovaries. Discoid heads comprise only disk flowers. A radiant head is a variant of a discoid head, with peripheral disk flower corollas expanded, often bilateral. A ray flower corolla is bilateral, generally with a slender tube and flattened petal-like ray (single lip composed of generally 3 lobes). Ray flowers are generally pistillate or sterile (occasionally lacking styles). Radiate heads have peripheral ray flowers and central disk flowers. Disciform heads superficially resemble discoid heads, with pistillate or sterile flowers that lack rays, together with or separate from disk flowers. A ligulate flower is bisexual, with a bilateral, generally ephemeral corolla and 5-lobed ligule. Liguliflorous heads comprise only ligulate flowers. See glossary p. 31 for illustrations of family characteristics. Echinops sphaerocephalus L., Gaillardia aristata Pursh, Gaillardia pulchella Foug., Hymenothrix loomisii S.F. Blake, Tagetes erecta L., Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.) Kuntze are waifs. Melampodium perfoliatum Kunth, historic urban waif. Ageratum conyzoides L., Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass., Santolina chamaecyparisus L., orth. var. are rare or uncommon escapes from cultivation. Dyssodia papposa, Ismelia carinata (Schousb.) Sch. Bip. [Chrysanthemum carinatum Schousb.], Mantisalca salmantica (L.) Briq. & Cavill. are historical or extirpated waifs in California. Inula helenium L. not documented in California. Taxa of Aster in TJM (1993) treated here in Almutaster, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum; Chamomilla in Matricaria; Bahia in Hymenothrix; Cnicus in Centaurea; Conyza in Erigeron and Laennecia; Dugaldia in Hymenoxys; Erechtites in Senecio; Hymenoclea in Ambrosia; Lembertia in Monolopia; Osteospermum ecklonis in Dimorphotheca; Picris echioides in Helminthotheca; Prionopsis in Grindelia; Raillardiopsis in Anisocarpus and Carlquistia; Schkuhria multiflora in Picradeniopsis; Trimorpha in Erigeron; Venidium in Arctotis; Whitneya in Arnica. Amauriopsis in TJM2 (2012) treated here in Hymenothrix; Arida in Leucosyris; Bahia in Picradeniopsis.
Unabridged Note: Largest family of vascular plants in California and of eudicots globally.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, except as noted
Scientific Editor: David J. Keil, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: DimorphothecaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, subshrub. Stem: prostrate to erect, generally branched. Leaf: generally alternate, simple, entire to pinnately lobed. Inflorescence: heads radiate, generally 1; peduncle long; involucre hemispheric or bell-shaped; phyllaries in 1--2 series, linear to lanceolate; receptacle flat or convex, epaleate. Ray Flower: <= 20, generally fertile; ray oblong, 3-toothed, adaxially yellow, orange, pink, purple, or white, sometimes abaxially blue or purple. Disk Flower: many, bisexual or staminate; corolla tube very short, throat long, yellow or purple; anther base sagittate, short-tailed, tip ovate or triangular-ovate; style with distal collar of hairs, branches very short, appendages widely obtuse. Fruit: ray fruit 3-angled, smooth or tubercled, glabrous, angles sometimes narrowly winged; disk fruit (or sterile ovary) smooth, obovate, flattened, winged, glabrous; pappus 0.
Species In Genus: 19 species: southern Africa. Etymology: (Greek: 2 forms of fruits) Note: Dimorphotheca pluvialis (L.) Moench not naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil
Reference: Strother 2006 FNANM 19:380--381, 382--383
Unabridged Reference: Nordenstam 1994 Compositae Newsletter 25:46--49
Dimorphotheca fruticosa (L.) DC.
Habit: Perennial herb, subshrub, +- puberulent and minutely stalked-glandular. Stem: sometimes >> 1 m, trailing to ascending, sparingly branched, rooting at ground contact. Leaf: 4--8 cm, +- fleshy; proximal wing-petioled, distal +- sessile; blade oblanceolate to obovate, entire or sparingly dentate. Inflorescence: heads generally 1, 4--7 cm diam; involucre +- bell-shaped; phyllaries 12--15 mm, lance-linear, acuminate, narrowly scarious-margined. Ray Flower: ray 2.5--3.5 cm, adaxially pink-purple to rose-purple and abaxially purple or deep rose-purple or adaxially white and abaxially blue-purple, sometimes deep violet at base. Disk Flower: staminate (but ovary enlarging); corolla 5--6 mm, blue-purple. Fruit: ray fruit 5--7 mm, faces ribbed; sterile disk ovary 5--7 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=20.
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed places, beaches, coastal areas; Elevation: < 200 m. Bioregional Distribution: CCo, SCo, PR; Distribution Outside California: native to southern Africa. Flowering Time: Generally Mar--Jul(+- all year in cultivation) Note: Many cultivated forms are hybrids with Dimorphotheca ecklonis and combine species features; these may escape or persist from cultivation.
Synonyms: Calendula fruticosa L.; Osteospermum fruticosum (L.) Norl.
Jepson eFlora Author: David J. Keil
Reference: Strother 2006 FNANM 19:380--381, 382--383
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Botanical illustration including Dimorphotheca fruticosa

botanical illustration including Dimorphotheca fruticosa


Citation for this treatment: David J. Keil 2012, Dimorphotheca fruticosa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 05, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 05, 2019.

No expert verified images found for Dimorphotheca fruticosa.

Geographic subdivisions for Dimorphotheca fruticosa:
CCo, SCo, PR
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map of distribution 1
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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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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.
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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.