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.



Dale W. McNeal, except as specified

Perennial to trees, from membranous bulb, fibrous corm, scaly rhizome, or erect caudex
Stem generally underground
Leaves generally basal, often withering early, alternate, generally ± linear
Inflorescence various, generally bracted
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; perianth often showy, segments generally 6 in two petal-like whorls (outer sometimes sepal-like), free or fused at base; stamens 6 (or 3 + generally 3 ± petal-like staminodes), filaments sometimes attached to perianth or fused into a tube or crown; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, placentas generally axile, style generally 1, stigmas generally 3
Fruit: generally capsule, loculicidal or septicidal (berry or nut)
Genera in family: ± 300 genera, 4600 species: especially ± dry temp and subtropical; many cultivated for ornamental or food; some TOXIC. Here includes genera sometimes treated in Agavaceae, Amaryllidaceae, and other families.



Perennial; rhizome creeping
Stem erect, scaly below, leafy above
Leaves alternate, > 5
Inflorescence: panicle or raceme, terminal
Flower small; perianth parts 6, petal-like, white; stamens 6, attached to perianth; ovary superior, chambers 3, style 1, stigma ± 3-lobed
Fruit: berry
Seeds 1–3
Species in genus: ± 25 species: n temp
Etymology: (Greek: little smilax)
CA species sometimes considered part of Maianthemum.


S. stellata (L.) Desf.

Rhizome slender
Stem 30–70 cm, straight or ± zigzag above, glabrous to puberulent
Leaf 5–17 cm, (ob)lanceolate to elliptic, acuminate, puberulent below, sessile, clasping
Inflorescence: raceme (rarely branched at lowest node), generally 2–8 cm; flowers 5–15
Flower 4–6 mm; perianth parts oblong to lanceolate, spreading; stamens < perianth
Fruit 7–10 mm, spheric, reddish purple to black
Seed brown
Chromosomes: n=18
Ecology: Moist woodlands, streambanks, open slopes
Elevation: < 2400 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, White and Inyo Mountains
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, eastern N.America
Flowering time: Apr–Jun
Synonyms: var. sessilifolia (Baker) L.F. Hend
Horticultural information: DRN: 4 &IRR: 1, 2, 5, 6 &SHD: 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

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