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Vascular Plants of California
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Bituminaria bituminosa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: BituminariaView Description 

Habit: Perennial herb to subshrub, erect to spreading, unarmed. Leaf: ternate, gland-dotted; leaflets 3, lance-linear to broadly ovate, entire to irregularly finely dentate; stipules free, persistent. Inflorescence: flowers 5--15, 2--3 per node, clustered into [head-like umbels] compact racemes, peduncles elongate, scapose or axillary; bracts at each node generally united. Flower: calyx lobes > tube; corolla > calyx lobes, partly blue to violet; ovary hairy. Fruit: indehiscent, with long sword-shaped beak, glabrous to soft-hairy, with prickle-like processes. Seed: dark brown, oblong to reniform.
Species In Genus: 2 species: Macaronesia, Mediterranean, southwestern Asia, cultivated, used for ornament, forage, medicine. Etymology: (Latin: from bituminosus, of pitch)
Unabridged Reference: Stirton 1981 Bothalia 13: 317--325
Bituminaria bituminosa (L.) C.H. Stirt.
Habit: Strigose, especially dense in inflorescence, hairs white, generally some black. Leaf: cauline, leaflets entire, 2--5 cm. Inflorescence: axillary, 10--15-flowered; peduncle 5--20 cm; bracts, especially lower, united into fan-shaped, 3--5 toothed blade; pedicels 1--2 mm. Flower: calyx swollen in fruit; corolla 12--14 mm, white to violet; 9 filaments fused, 1 free; ovule 1. Fruit: body 4--5 mm, ovate, compressed, hairy; beak 7--10 mm, +- glabrous. Seed: 4 mm, fused to fruit wall. Chromosomes: 2n=20.
Ecology: Open, disturbed sites, slopes, chaparral, oak woodland; Elevation: < 1100 m. Bioregional Distribution: SCo (Verdugo Mtns, San Rafael Hills), SnGb; Distribution Outside California: Mediterranean Europe, cultivated. Flowering Time: Apr--May
Synonyms: Psoralea bituminosa L.
Jepson eFlora Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Martin F. Wojciechowski 2012, Bituminaria bituminosa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 24, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 24, 2022.

No expert verified images found for Bituminaria bituminosa.

Geographic subdivisions for Bituminaria bituminosa:
SCo (Verdugo Mtns, San Rafael Hills), SnGb
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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.
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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).