Jepson eFlora: Key page
Vascular Plants of California
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Key to Ericaceae

View taxon page for Ericaceae


Jepson Manual glossary definitions can be seen by moving your cursor over words underlined with dots.

1. Plant non-green; leaves 0 or scale-like

2. Ovary chamber 1 or appearing > 1 by intrusion of  fruitberry; fruit axis fleshy, not long-persisting

3. Petals fusedanthers elongate, dehiscing by separate slits ..... HEMITOMES

3' Petals free; anthers elongate or not, dehiscing by separate or fused slits

4. Corolla densely hairy inside, ± glabrous outside; anthers not elongate; stigma < 5 mm wide, ± , subtended by ring of hairs ..... PITYOPUS

4' Corolla glabrous; anthers elongate; stigma 1.5–2.5 mm wide, crown-like, not subtended by hairs ..... PLEURICOSPORA

2' Ovary chambers 4–5; fruit a capsule; fruit axis , generally persisting long after seed dispersal

5. Petals free; fruit dehiscing tip to base; seed 

6. Inflorescence emerging from ground , with red or maroon stripes;  not  when anthers opensepals 0(2–4), petals 5; stamens  ..... ALLOTROPA

6' Inflorescence emerging from ground nodding, without red or maroon stripes; pedicel recurved to  when anthers open; sepals, petals generally 5; stamens  ..... MONOTROPA

5' Petals fused; fruit dehiscing base to tip or ; seed , winged or not

7. Plant ± pink, in age brown; inflorescence 1.5–17 dm, axis < 1.5 cm wide just below lowest flower; corolla 6–9 mm, cream to ± yellow; anthers awned; fruit dehiscing; seed winged ..... PTEROSPORA

7' Plant ± red; inflorescence generally 1.5–3 dm, axis generally > 1 cm wide just below lowest flower; corolla 12–18 mm, red; anthers unawned; fruit indehiscent; seed unwinged ..... SARCODES

1' Plant green; leaves leaf-like (except some Pyrola)

8. Plant not or ± woody; leaves  or cauline but on short stems to ; petals free

9. Flowers 1 or to 10 in ± head- or umbel-like ; fruit dehiscing tip to base

10. Flowers in raceme; style in depression, stout; stigma not crown-like; nectary present; leaves cauline, leathery,  to oblanceolate ..... CHIMAPHILA

10' Flowers 1; style not or in slight depression, slender; stigma crown-like; nectary 0; leaves ± basal, not leathery, ovate to obovate ..... MONESES

9' Flowers few–many in elongate raceme; fruit dehiscing base to tip

11. Inflorescence 1-sided, arched, in fruit ± erect; petal tubercles 2, basal, adaxial; nectary present ..... ORTHILIA

11' Inflorescence not 1-sided, ± erect; petal tubercles 0; nectary 0 ..... PYROLA

8' Plant woody; leaves cauline, alternate (opposite, whorled); petals 0, free and reduced, or generally fused, or calyx, corolla ± indistinguishable, perianth parts 3–6, ± free

12. Flowers reduced, wind-pollinated, unisexual ..... EMPETRUM

12' Flowers not reduced, not wind-pollinated, 

13. Ovary inferior; fruit a berry ..... VACCINIUM

13' Ovary 1/2-inferior or generally superior; fruit a berry, drupe, or capsule

14. Fruit generally ± enclosed by fleshy calyx; leaves evergreen ..... GAULTHERIA

14' Fruit not enclosed by calyx; leaves evergreen or deciduous

15. Corolla generally persistent in fruit;  needle-like, generally < 1 mm wide ..... ERICA

15' Corolla not persistent in fruit; leaf  or wider, generally not needle-like, generally > 1 mm wide

16. Fruit a drupe or berry; plants generally of low elevations, dry habitats (except Arbutus, some Arctostaphylos)

17. Leaves  or whorled, ± linear; fruit a drupe, stones fused, each generally 2-seeded ..... ORNITHOSTAPHYLOS

17' Leaves alternate (except some Xylococcus), wider than linear; fruit a berry or drupe, stones free or fused, each 1–few-seeded

18. Ovary, fruit smooth, not ; fruit not juicy; inflorescence generally dense

19. Leaf margin generally flat; filament swollen at base; fruit flesh generally mealy, occasionally 0, stones free to all fused ..... ARCTOSTAPHYLOS

19' Leaf margin rolled under; filament not swollen at base; fruit flesh dry, stones fused ..... XYLOCOCCUS

18' Ovary, fruit papillate; fruit ± juicy; inflorescence generally open

20. Fruit a berry; seeds few per chamber ..... ARBUTUS

20' Fruit a drupe; seeds 1 per stone ..... COMAROSTAPHYLIS

16' Fruit a capsule; plants generally of high elevations or moist habitats (some Rhododendron, Menziesia from low elevations, moist habitats)

21. Anthers awned or not; fruit 

22. Leaves boat-shaped, opposite, 2–5 mm, ; flowers 1 in upper leaf axils; anthers  elongate ..... CASSIOPE

22' Leaves not boat-shaped, alternate, 15–80 mm, spreading; flowers in racemes; anthers awns 0 or vestigial ..... LEUCOTHOE

21' Anthers unawned; fruit 

23. Fruit dehiscing base to tip; petals fused at base or generally free ..... RHODODENDRON (2)

23' Fruit dehiscing tip to base; petals ± fused

24. Corolla generally  to cup-shaped, with pockets holding anthers until dehiscence ..... KALMIA

24' Corolla generally not cup-shaped to rotate, without pockets

25. Leaf < 5 mm wide, margin strongly rolled under, abaxial surface < 1/3 visible;  scales 0 ..... PHYLLODOCE

25' Leaf > 5 mm wide, margin not strongly rolled under, abaxial surface > 1/3 visible (except sometimes in bud);  scales deciduous or ± persistent

26. Corolla  to ± spheric, 6–7(13) mm; leaves deciduous ..... MENZIESIA

26' Corolla widely bell- to funnel-shaped, 10–50 mm; leaves deciduous or evergreen ..... RHODODENDRON (2)



Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) . Jepson eFlora, [accessed on ]

Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on .

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