Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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



Gary D. Wallace, except as specified

Perennial, shrub, tree
Stem: bark often peeling distinctively
Leaves simple, generally cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, evergreen or deciduous, often leathery, petioled or not; stipules 0
Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers solitary, generally bracted; pedicels often with 2 bractlets
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals generally 4–5, generally free; petals generally 4–5, free or fused; stamens 8–10, free, filaments rarely appendaged, anthers awned or not, dehiscent by pores or slits; nectary generally at ovary base, disk-like; ovary superior or inferior, chambers generally 1–5, placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1–many per chamber, style 1, stigma head- to funnel-like or lobed
Fruit: capsule, drupe, berry
Seeds generally many, sometimes winged
Genera in family: ± 100 genera, 3000 species: generally worldwide except deserts; some cultivated, especially Arbutus, Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium
Reference: [Wallace 1975 Wasmann J Biol 33:1–88; 1975 Bot Not 128:286–298]
Subfamilies Monotropoideae, Pyroloideae, Vaccinioideae sometimes treated as families. Nongreen plants obtain nutrition from green plants through fungal intermediates.



Philip V. Wells

Shrubs, small trees
Stem prostrate to erect; fire-resistant burl sometimes present at base; bark generally reddish, smooth or gray, rough, and shredded; hairs generally alike on twig, inflorescence axis, bract
Leaves alternate, spreading to ascending, evergreen; blade surfaces generally alike, sometimes convex, differing in color (stomata restricted to lower surface) or hairiness; margin flat to rolled
Inflorescence: raceme or panicle-like, terminal; branches raceme-like; flowers bracted; bracts leaf-like, generally flat or scale-like, generally folded, keeled; immature inflorescence present late summer through winter
Flower radial; sepals generally 5, free, persistent; corolla generally 5-lobed, urn-shaped to ± spheric, white to pink; stamens generally 10, included, filament base glabrous or hairy, anther 2-pored, awns 2, recurved; ovary superior, base surrounded by nectary disk, chambers 2–10, ovule 1 per chamber, style 1, stigma head-like
Fruit: drupe, berry-like, generally ± spheric; pulp generally thick, mealy; stones 2–10, free, separable, or strongly fused
Species in genus: ± 60 species: North America (especially CA) to C.Am, Eurasia
Etymology: (Greek: bear berries)
Reference: [Wells 1988 Madroño 35:330–341]
Observation of hairs requires 10X magnification. Distribution of many species local; hybridization occurs in areas of overlap
Horticultural information: Beautiful but mostly DFCLT due to fungus and often salinity and alkali. Avoid overhead watering in hot weather. CVS are the easier garden subjects.

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