Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, generally bristly or sharply hairy
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves cauline, often with basal rosette, generally simple, alternate; lower sometimes opposite, entire
Inflorescence: cyme, generally elongate, panicle-, raceme- or spike-like, coiled in flower, generally uncoiled in fruit or flowers 1–2 per axil
Flowers generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 5, free or fused in lower half; corolla 5-lobed, generally salverform, top of tube generally appendaged, appendages 5, alternating with stamens, sometimes arching over tube; stamens 5, epipetalous; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed, style generally entire
Fruit: nutlets 1–4, smooth to variously roughened, sometimes prickly or bristled
Genera in family: ± 100 genera, ± 2000 species: tropical, temp, especially w North America, Medit; some cultivated (Borago, Echium, Myosotis, Symphytum ). Almost all genera may be TOXIC from alkaloids or accumulated nitrates
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae [Olmsted et al. 2000 Mol Phylog Evol 16:96–112]
Family description, key to genera by Timothy C. Messick.



Fred R. Ganders

Annual; hairs generally bristly, often with bulbous bases
Stem generally erect, 2–12 dm, generally green
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, sessile or lower short-petioled, generally linear to narrowly lanceolate or oblong, generally ± entire
Inflorescence spike-like, generally ± terminal; tip coiled
Flower generally radial; calyx lobes 5, sometimes appearing to be 2–4 from fusion; corolla orange or yellow, limb generally with 5 red-orange marks
Fruit: nutlets erect, ± triangular, generally with oval lateral scar, generally with round or sharp tubercles
Species in genus: 10 species: w North America, sw South America, widely alien elsewhere
Etymology: (W. Amsinck, patron of Hamburg Botanic Garden, early 19th century)
Reference: [Ray & Chisaki 1957 Amer J Bot 44:529–554]
Self-compatible; often heterostylous; large-flowered taxa generally cross-pollinated, small-flowered self-pollinated. Seeds and herbage TOXIC to livestock (especially cattle) from alkaloids and high nitrate concentrations. Sharp plant hairs irritate human skin.


A. spectabilis Fisch. & C.A. Mey.

Leaf: margin finely toothed
Flower: calyx lobes 5, sometimes 2–3 ± half fused; corolla 7–19 mm, 5–14 mm wide at top, yellow, tube 10-veined near base
Fruit 1–2 mm; surface tubercled, sometimes ridged
Ecology: Sandy places, including coastal dunes
Elevation: < 100 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, Channel Islands
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Baja California
Varieties intergrade in s CCo (near Morro Bay).


var. spectabilis

Stem generally decumbent
Flower: 2–3 calyx lobes ± half fused; corolla 7–15 mm, 5–12 mm wide at top
Fruit 1.5–2 mm, sometimes ridged; tubercles sharp or obscure
Chromosomes: 2n=10
Ecology: Coastal bluffs, dunes
Elevation: < 100 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, Channel Islands
Synonyms: A. s. var. nicolai (Jeps.) Munz; A. scouleri I.M. Johnst
Heterostylous or not
Horticultural information: SUN: 14, 15, 16, 17, 24.

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