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 or perennial herb, generally fleshy
Stems generally glabrous
Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, sometimes stipuled
Inflorescence various
Flower bisexual, radial; sepals generally 2(–8), free or fused at base; petals 3–18, free or ± fused; stamens 1–many, free or inserted on corolla; ovary superior or partly inferior, chamber 1, placenta free-central or basal; styles 2–8, generally fused at base
Fruit: capsule, circumscissile or 2–3-valved
Seeds 1–many, generally black, generally shiny
Genera in family: ± 20 genera, ± 400 species: generally temp Am, Australia, s Africa; some cultivated (Lewisia, Portulaca, Calandrinia )
Reference: [Bogle 1969 J Arnold Arbor 50:566–598]
Family description and key to genera by Dieter H. Wilken & Walter A. Kelley.



Dieter H. Wilken and Walter A. Kelley

Annual, perennial herb, ± fleshy, from taproot or fibrous roots, generally glabrous
Stems generally several, generally spreading to ascending
Leaves in basal rosette or basal and cauline, simple, oblanceolate to spoon-shaped
Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, or umbel, scapose, leafy, or bracted; flowers generally on 1 side of axis, deciduous or persistent in fruit; bracts generally < sepals, scarious
Flower: sepals 2, ovate to reniform, generally scarious or scarious-margined, persistent in fruit; petals 2–4, minute, < sepals, tips adherent and cap-like in fruit, falling as 1 unit; stamens 1–3; style 0 or 1, thread-like, stigmas generally 2
Fruit: capsule, generally translucent, 2-valved, generally compressed, oblong to ± round
Seeds 1–many, black, generally shiny
Species in genus: 8 species: w Am
Etymology: (Greek: cap, from petals in fruit)
Reference: [Hinton 1975 Brittonia 27:197–208; Thomas 1956 Leafl W Bot 8:9–11]
Observation of flower, seeds requires 20X magnification.


C. umbellatum (Torr.) Greene

Perennial, < 6 dm; caudex short, thick; taproot slender to thick
Stems generally spreading to ascending, scapose
Leaves: basal rosettes generally 2+; leaf 1.5–7 cm
Inflorescence: umbel, generally compound, simple in small plants, 1–7 cm diam, terminal, generally 1 per rosette, dense; bracts subtending inflorescence < or = sepals, ± round; flowers subsessile to short-pedicelled, persistent in fruit
Flower: sepals 3–8 mm, ± round, clearly scarious; petals 4, 3–8 mm, white; stamens 3, yellow to red; style ± 1 mm, thread-like
Fruit 2–3 mm, widely elliptic to ± round
Seeds 1–8
Ecology: Open, sandy to rocky soils, coniferous forest, alpine
Elevation: 1500–4300 m (100–200 m in SnFrB).
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, High North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, sw San Francisco Bay Area (Santa Cruz Mtns), Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to Montana, w Wyoming
Flowering time: May–Aug
Alpine plants from SNH with simple umbels, persistent leaves < 1 cm have been called var. caudiciferum (A. Gray) Jeps
Horticultural information: TRY; DFCLT.

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