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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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Annual, perennial herb, shrubs, generally bristly or sharply hairy
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves cauline, often with basal rosette, generally simple, alternate; lower sometimes opposite, entire
Inflorescence: cyme, generally elongate, panicle-, raceme- or spike-like, coiled in flower, generally uncoiled in fruit or flowers 1–2 per axil
Flowers generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 5, free or fused in lower half; corolla 5-lobed, generally salverform, top of tube generally appendaged, appendages 5, alternating with stamens, sometimes arching over tube; stamens 5, epipetalous; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed, style generally entire
Fruit: nutlets 1–4, smooth to variously roughened, sometimes prickly or bristled
Genera in family: ± 100 genera, ± 2000 species: tropical, temp, especially w North America, Medit; some cultivated (Borago, Echium, Myosotis, Symphytum ). Almost all genera may be TOXIC from alkaloids or accumulated nitrates
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae [Olmsted et al. 2000 Mol Phylog Evol 16:96–112]
Family description, key to genera by Timothy C. Messick.



Fred R. Ganders

Annual; hairs generally bristly, often with bulbous bases
Stem generally erect, 2–12 dm, generally green
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, sessile or lower short-petioled, generally linear to narrowly lanceolate or oblong, generally ± entire
Inflorescence spike-like, generally ± terminal; tip coiled
Flower generally radial; calyx lobes 5, sometimes appearing to be 2–4 from fusion; corolla orange or yellow, limb generally with 5 red-orange marks
Fruit: nutlets erect, ± triangular, generally with oval lateral scar, generally with round or sharp tubercles
Species in genus: 10 species: w North America, sw South America, widely alien elsewhere
Etymology: (W. Amsinck, patron of Hamburg Botanic Garden, early 19th century)
Reference: [Ray & Chisaki 1957 Amer J Bot 44:529–554]
Self-compatible; often heterostylous; large-flowered taxa generally cross-pollinated, small-flowered self-pollinated. Seeds and herbage TOXIC to livestock (especially cattle) from alkaloids and high nitrate concentrations. Sharp plant hairs irritate human skin.


A. menziesii (Lehm.) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.


Flower: calyx lobes 5; corolla 4–11 mm, 2–10 mm wide at top, tube 10-veined near base, limb with red-orange marks or not; anthers appressed to stigma in corolla throat
Fruit 2–3.5 mm; surface tubercled, sometimes ridged
Ecology: Abundant. Open, generally disturbed places
Elevation: < 1700 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, also in S.America; alien in c&eastern US, eastern hemisphere
100+ named, mostly indistinct variants; self-pollinated; different variants may grow together and remain distinct but intergrade over their ranges. Not heterostylous.


var. intermedia (Fisch. & C.A. Mey.) Ganders

Flower: corolla 7–11 mm, 4–10 mm wide at top, ± orange, limb generally with 5 red-orange marks
Chromosomes: 2n=30,34,38
Ecology: Habitat and elevation of sp.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Idaho, Arizona, Baja California
Flowering time: Mar–Jun
Synonyms: A. i. Fisch. & C.A. Mey., including var. echinata (A. Gray) Wiggins
Hybridizes with A. lycopsoides ; large-flowered plants like A. eastwoodiae.
Horticultural information: SUN: 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; STBL.

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