Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Carsonia sparsifolia

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CleomaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, often ill-smelling. Leaf: generally 1-palmate, generally alternate, generally petioled; stipules generally minute, often bristle-like or hairy; leaflets 0 or 3--7. Inflorescence: raceme, head, or flowers 1, expanded in fruit; bracts generally 3-parted below, simple above, or 0. Flower: generally bisexual, radial to +- bilateral; sepals generally 4, free or fused, generally persistent; petals generally 4, free, +- clawed; stamens generally 6, free, exserted, anthers generally coiling at dehiscence; ovary superior, generally on stalk-like receptacle, chamber generally 1, placentas generally 2, parietal, style 1, persistent, stigma generally minute, +- head-like. Fruit: 2 nutlets or generally capsule, septicidal; valves generally 2, deciduous, leaving septum (frame-like placentas) behind; pedicel generally +- reflexed to spreading.
Genera In Family: 17 genera, +- 150 species: widespread tropics to arid temperate. Note: Treated as Capparaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CarsoniaView Description 

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Named for Carson Desert, Nevada)

Carsonia sparsifolia (S. Watson) Greene
Habit: Perennial herb 1--9 dm, densely branched, glabrous, glaucous. Leaf: +- sparse; leaflets 3 below, 1 (leaves simple) above, 0.4--1.5 cm, obovate. Inflorescence: raceme, open, few-flowered, 2--10 cm, not much expanded in fruit. Flower: sepals free, deciduous, 1.4--3 mm, ovate, acuminate, minutely serrate, brown-green; petals 9--13 mm, strap-shaped, recurved, yellow with brown central streak; stamens 9--15 mm, yellow, anthers 3--6 mm, brown; style 0.1--0.4 mm. Fruit: 15--45 mm, 1--3 mm wide, smooth; receptacle 2--5 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=32.
Ecology: Sand dunes, sandy areas on alkali lake margins; Elevation: 850--2030 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNE, DMoj (Eureka Valley); Distribution Outside California: western Nevada. Flowering Time: May--Aug
Synonyms: Cleome sparsifolia S. Watson
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
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botanical illustration including Carsonia sparsifolia


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2016. Carsonia sparsifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 06, 2016.

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

Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2009 Aaron Schusteff
Carsonia sparsifolia
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© 2011 Steve Matson
Carsonia sparsifolia
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© 1999 California Academy of Sciences
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2011 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Carsonia sparsifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Carsonia sparsifolia:
SNE, DMoj (Eureka Valley);
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
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.