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Robert W. Patterson, Family Editor

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, vine
Leaves simple or compound, cauline (or most in basal rosette), alternate or opposite; stipules 0
Inflorescence: cymes, heads, or flowers solitary
Flower: calyx generally 5-ribbed, ribs often connected by translucent membranes that are generally torn by growing fruit; corolla generally 5-lobed, radial or bilateral, salverform to bell-shaped, throat often well defined; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, attached at same or different levels, filaments of same or different lengths, pollen white, yellow, blue, or red; ovary superior, chambers generally 3, style 1, stigmas generally 3
Fruit: capsule
Seeds 1–many, gelatinous or not when wet
Genera in family: 19 genera, 320 species: Am, n Eur, n Asia; some cultivated (Cantua, Cobaea (cup-and-saucer vine), Collomia, Gilia, Ipomopsis, Linanthus, Phlox )
Recent taxonomic note: *See also revised taxonomy of Porter and Johnson 2000 Aliso 19(1):55–91; Porter 1998 Aliso 17:83–85


Robert W. Patterson

Annual, perennial herb, glabrous to woolly
Stem generally erect
Leaves cauline, alternate, pinnately lobed or simple; lobes generally linear or lanceolate
Inflorescence: heads, bracted, generally densely woolly; bracts leaf-like; flowers sessile
Flower: calyx lobes unequal; corolla radial or bilateral, funnel-shaped to salverform; stamens equal or not, attached at same level, anthers generally sagittate, pollen white or blue; style included or exserted
Seeds 1–few per chamber
Species in genus: 13 species: w North America
Etymology: (Greek, woolly star)
Reference: [Harrison 1972 Brigham Young Univ Sci Bull, Biol Ser 16:1–26]


E. diffusum (A. Gray) H. Mason

Stem erect or spreading, 3–20 cm
Leaf 10–25 mm; lobes generally 2–4 near base, nearly glabrous to woolly
Flower: corolla generally funnel-shaped, tube 3–5 mm, blue or yellow, lobes 3–5 mm, light blue or cream; stamens attached in upper throat, unequal, exserted
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Open, areas, sandy soil
Elevation: < 2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: s High Sierra Nevada (se Tulare Co.), White and Inyo Mountains, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Colorado, New Mexico, Texas
Flowering time: Mar–May
Despite name, not always openly or diffusely branched.

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