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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.



James Henrickson

Annual to tree
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, generally entire, bract-like upward; stipules 0
Inflorescence: cymes, often arrayed ± in spikes or panicles; bracts 1–3 per flower, generally membranous-scarious, tip often short-pointed or spine-like
Flower generally small, uni- or bisexual, radial; sepals 0–5, fused at base or free, often ± scarious; petals 0; stamens 0–5, opposite sepals (staminodes sometimes alternating), filaments sometimes fused at base; ovary superior, 1-chambered, ovules 1–several, erect or pendent on ± basal stalks, styles 0–3, stigma head-like or 2–3-lobed
Fruit: utricle to circumscissile capsule
Seed lenticular to spheric, hard
Genera in family: ± 65 genera, ± 900 species: tropical, subtropical
Reference: [Robertson 1981 J Arnold Arbor 62:267–313]



Annual, monoecious or dioecious
Leaves alternate; blade linear to ovate
Inflorescence: cymes in dense, spike-like clusters; bract 1, tip generally short-pointed or -spined, generally scarious; bractlets 0–2
Staminate flower: sepals 3–5, ± equal, ± as bracts; stamens (1)3–5, filaments free; staminodia 0
Pistillate flower: sepals (3–)5, ± equal, scarious except midvein, fused at base, falling with fruit; ovary compressed-ovoid, styles (2)3, stigmas slender, papillate, ovule 1, erect
Fruit circumscissile or indehiscent, smooth or inflated-wrinkled; walls membranous to spongy-hardened
Seed 1, lenticular, smooth, reddish to black
Species in genus: ± 60 species: worldwide; some potherbs, some cultivated for seed
Etymology: (Greek: unfading, from persistent bracts and sepals)
Some species (especially A. cruentus, A. powellii, A. retroflexus) hybridize complexly
Reference: [Tucker & Sauer Madroño 1958 14:252–261]


A. fimbriatus (Torr.) Benth.

Plant erect, 4–10 dm, often reddish, monoecious
Leaf: petiole 5–20 mm; blades 20–100 mm, linear to narrowly lanceolate
Inflorescence: lower clusters axillary, scattered; terminal clusters spike-like, 10–30 cm, 1–2 cm wide, crowded, leafy; bracts 1–1.8 mm, scarious (except midrib)
Staminate flower: sepals 5, 1–1.5 mm; stamens 3
Pistillate flower: sepals 5, 1.5–3.3 mm, < or = 2.5 mm wide, subequal, fan-shaped, tip long-toothed, fringed, reflexed
Fruit ± 1.5 mm, circumscissile; lid strongly inflated-wrinkled near base
Seed 0.9–1 mm wide
Chromosomes: n=17
Ecology: Common. Sandy, gravelly slopes, washes, after summer rains
Elevation: 600–1700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Desert
Distribution outside California: to s Canada, Montana, w Texas, Baja California
Flowering time: Aug–Nov

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