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.



Reed C. Rollins, except as specified

Annual to subshrub
Leaves generally basal and cauline, alternate, generally simple; stipules 0
Inflorescence: generally raceme
Flower bisexual; sepals 4, free; petals (0)4, free, generally white or yellow, often clawed; stamens generally (2,4)6, generally 4 long, 2 short; ovary 1, superior, chambers generally 2, septum membranous, connecting 2 parietal placentas, style 1, stigma simple or 2-lobed
Fruit: generally capsule ("silique") with 2 deciduous valves, sometimes breaking transversely or indehiscent
Seeds 1–many per chamber
Genera in family: 300+ genera, 3000+ species: worldwide, especially cool regions; some cultivated for food (especially Brassica, Raphanus ) and ornamental
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Capparaceae [Rodman et al. 1993 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 80:686–699; Rollins 1993 Cruciferae of Continental North America. Stanford Univ Press]
Family description, key to genera by Robert A. Price.



Annual, perennial herb
Leaves: basal petioled, deeply pinnately lobed to ± compound, rarely simple, entire; cauline short-petioled to sessile, shallowly lobed to entire
Inflorescence generally dense, many-flowered; bracts 0
Flower: sepals erect, linear to oblong; petals widely obovate to oblanceolate, veins prominent, dark
Fruit linear to oblong or elliptic, beaked; pedicel ascending to erect, subappressed
Seeds: 2 rows per chamber, orange or brown; cotyledons doubly folded
Species in genus: 3 species: Eurasia
Etymology: (Latin: perhaps burn, from plant taste)


E. vesicaria (L.) Cav. subsp. sativa (Mill.) Thell.

Stem generally branched from base, 2–10 dm; hairs toward base, simple, often reflexed
Leaf 5–15 cm, generally widely oblanceolate; hairs on upper surface 0, on lower along midrib, few, simple
Flower: petals erect to ascending, 1.5–2 cm, ± 2 X sepals, white to yellowish
Fruit 1–2.5 cm, ± cylindric, 4-ribbed; pedicel 2–5 mm; beak ± flat, 1/2 to = valve
Ecology: Disturbed areas, fields, roadsides
Elevation: < 400 m.
Bioregional distribution: Cascade Range, Great Central Valley, South Coast Ranges, Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: N.America.; native to Europe
Flowering time: May–Jul
Synonyms: E. s. Mill

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