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.



Warren L. Wagner, except as specified Peter H. Raven, Family Coordinator

Annual to tree
Leaves basal or cauline, alternate, opposite, or whorled, generally simple and toothed (to pinnately compound); stipules 0 or generally deciduous
Inflorescence: spike, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary in axils; bracted
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial, opening at dawn or dusk; hypanthium sometimes prolonged beyond ovary (measured from ovary tip to sepal base); sepals generally 4(2–7); petals generally 4 (or as many as sepals, rarely 0), often "fading" darker; stamens generally 4 or 8(2), anthers 2-chambered, opening lengthwise, pollen generally interconnected by threads; ovary inferior, chambers generally 4 (sometimes becoming 1), placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1–many per chamber, style 1, stigma 4-lobed (or lobes as many as sepals), club-shaped, or hemispheric
Fruit: capsule, loculicidal (sometimes berry or indehiscent and nut-like)
Seeds sometimes winged or hair-tufted
Genera in family: 15 genera, ± 650 species: worldwide, especially w North America; many cultivated (Clarkia, Epilobium, Fuchsia, Gaura, Oenothera )
Reference: [Munz 1965 North America Fl II 5:1–278]


Harlan Lewis

Stem generally erect, < 1 m, slender; hairs 0 to dense, rarely glandular
Leaves cauline, alternate (or lowest subopposite), entire, petioled or not, narrow-lanceolate
Inflorescence: flowers axillary, pedicelled or not, opening at dawn
Flower: hypanthium inconspicuous; sepals 4, staying fused in 2's or all coming free; petals 4, 0.5–8 mm, white, with 1–2 yellow or greenish spots at base, fading pink or red; stamens 8, those opposite sepals larger, pollen ± yellow; ovary chambers 2, stigma generally not beyond anthers, generally touching them, generally ± spheric
Fruit: capsule, ± cylindric or flat; valves 4, all generally coming free, generally equal
Seeds few–many, generally all maturing, generally appressed to septum, alternate or subopposite between chambers, in each chamber generally in 1 row and generally not overlapped, 0.5–2.3 mm, ovoid, glabrous or hairy, brown or gray mottled with brown; appendages 0
Species in genus: ± 9 species: w North America, 2 South America
Etymology: (C. Gay, French author of Flora of Chile, 1800–1873)
Reference: [Lewis & Szweykowski 1964 Brittonia 16:343–391]
Self-compatible; taxa with petals < 3 mm self-pollinated.


G. diffusum Torr. & A. Gray

Stem < 60 cm; branches at base or not, generally forked above
Leaves 1–6 cm, generally reduced above
Inflorescence: 1st flower 1–20 nodes above base
Flower: petals 1.2–7 mm; larger stamens 0.9–6 mm; ovary hairy, stigma beyond anthers or not, hemispheric or not
Fruit 3–15 mm, sessile or generally > pedicel, cylindric, slightly to very knobby
Seeds 3–18, alternate or subopposite, in each chamber sometimes in 2 rows and overlapped, glabrous to densely puberulent
Chromosomes: 2n=28
Ecology: Common. Open montane forest, sagebrush scrub
Elevation: 800–3700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: w US to British Columbia, Baja California
Complex from several 2n=14 species; subspp. may intergrade locally.


subsp. parviflorum F.H. Lewis & Szweyk.

Flower: petals 1.2–3 mm; larger stamens 0.9–2 mm; stigma not beyond anthers, ± spheric
Fruit: seeds in each chamber sometimes in 2 rows and overlapped
Ecology: Common. Habitats, elevations of sp.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province
Flowering time: May–Sep
Variable; most small-flowered plants assigned by Munz, others to G. nuttallii belong here; may occur with any member of genus.

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