Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Pholisma sonorae

Higher Taxonomy
Family: LennoaceaeView Description 
Habit: Annual, perennial, non-green root-parasite. Stem: actually a peduncle, fleshy, underground, generally unbranched, white or +- brown. Leaf: scale-like, alternate. Inflorescence: panicle, spike, or head. Flower: bisexual, +- radial; calyx lobes 4--10; corolla lobes 4--10; stamens as many as corolla lobes, epipetalous, incl; ovary superior, chambers 10--32, placentas axile, style 1, stigma lobes 5--9. Fruit: capsule, circumscissile, hidden by persistent perianth. Seed: in a ring, 1 per chamber, +- reniform, flat, brown.
Genera In Family: 2 genera, 4 spp.: sw US to n S.Am, nowhere common; some historically harvested for food. Note: A morphologically well-defined, monophyletic group, nested within Ehretiaceae in some molecular phylogenetic studies (Luebert et al. 2016); more data desired on its relationships.
eFlora Treatment Author: George Yatskievych
Genus: PholismaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, non-green, parasitic. Stem: < 1.5 m. Leaf: 5--25 mm, linear to triangular, glandular. Flower: 7--10 mm; ovary chambers 10--32. Fruit: capsule, +- circumscissile below middle.
Species In Genus: 3 species: southern California, western Arizona, northwestern Mexico. Etymology: (Greek: scale, from scaly stem)
eFlora Treatment Author: George Yatskievych
Pholisma sonorae (Torr. ex A. Gray) Yatsk.
Stem: 5--15 dm, 0.5--2 cm diam. Flower: calyx lobes linear; corolla pink to purple, abaxially glabrous, margin white; ovary chambers 12--32. Chromosomes: 2n=36.
Ecology: Dunes, sandy areas; Elevation: < 200 m. Bioregional Distribution: DSon (se Imperial Co.); Distribution Outside California: western Arizona, northwestern Mexico. Flowering Time: Apr--May Note: Parasitic on Eriogonum, Tiquilia, Ambrosia, Pluchea. Threatened by off-road vehicles.
Synonyms: Ammobroma sonorae A. Gray
Jepson eFlora Author: George Yatskievych
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Citation for this treatment: George Yatskievych 2021, Pholisma sonorae, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 9,, accessed on August 14, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 14, 2022.

Pholisma sonorae
click for enlargement
© 2008 Michael Charters
Pholisma sonorae
click for enlargement
© 2008 Michael Charters
Pholisma sonorae
click for enlargement
© 2008 Michael Charters
Pholisma sonorae
click for enlargement
© 2008 Michael Charters
Pholisma sonorae
click for enlargement
© 2008 Michael Charters
Pholisma sonorae
click for enlargement
© 2008 Michael Charters

More photos of Pholisma sonorae in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Pholisma sonorae:
DSon (se Imperial Co.)
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).