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Lauramay T. Dempster

Annual, perennial herb, generally scapose
Leaves generally basal, simple, with longitudinal ribs; stipules 0
Inflorescence: spike, generally terminal, generally dense; flowers few–many, each subtended by 1 bract
Flower unisexual or bisexual, generally radial; calyx deeply 4-lobed, lobes generally overlapping, persistent, margin mostly scarious; corolla salverform or cylindric, lobes 4, spreading to erect, scarious, persistent, colorless; stamens 2–4, alternate corolla lobes, epipetalous; ovary superior, 2–4-chambered, ovules several per chamber, style 1, stigma long, hairy
Genera in family: 3 genera, ± 270 species: worldwide, especially temp; some weedy, some (especially P. afra , psyllium) cultivated for laxative
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Callitrichaceae, and most non-parasitic CA genera of Scrophulariaceae (but not Mimulus, Scrophularia, Verbascum); = Veronicaceae sensu Olmstead et al. [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 1998 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 85:531–553; Olmstead et al. 2001 Mol Phylog Evol 16:96–112]



Annual, perennial herb
Stem decumbent to erect
Flower generally bisexual; corolla radial, sometimes bilateral
Fruit: capsule, circumscissile ± at or below middle
Seeds 2–many, gelatinous when wet
Species in genus: ± 250 species: worldwide
Etymology: (Latin: sole of foot)


P. elongata Pursh

Annual, glabrous or sparsely hairy
Leaf 3–10 cm, linear to thread-like, entire, sometimes few-toothed
Inflorescences few–many, 2–18 cm including peduncle; spike 0.5–5 cm, dense or often ± loose; bract ± = sepals, appressed to sepals, round-ovate, keel wide, fleshy, margin translucent, not exserted
Flower: corolla lobes 0.5 mm, generally 3 spreading, 1 erect, ovate-lanceolate; stamens 2
Seeds 4–28, ± 1.5 mm, slender
Chromosomes: 2n=12,36
Ecology: Saline and alkaline places, beaches, vernal pools
Elevation: < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (except Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada)
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia
Synonyms: P. bigelovii A. Gray subsp. californica (Greene) Bassett
Plants with 5 seeds per fruit have been called subsp. pentasperma Bassett; plants with fruit 2–3 mm, 4–9 seeds, 2n=20, have been called P. bigelovii A. Gray.

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