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Vascular Plants of California
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Caltha leptosepala

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RanunculaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, woody vine [shrub], occasionally aquatic. Leaf: generally basal and cauline, alternate or opposite, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, occasionally sheathing or stipule-like. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 3--6(20), free, early-deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0--many, generally free; stamens generally 5--many, staminodes generally 0; pistils 1--many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 0--1, generally +- persistent as beak, ovules 1--many. Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, +- utricle in Trautvetteria, in aggregate or not, 1--many-seeded.
Genera In Family: +- 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate, tropical mountains; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Helleborus, Nigella). Toxicity: some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus). Note: Taxa of Isopyrum in TJM (1993) moved to Enemion; Kumlienia moved to Ranunculus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken, family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CalthaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb from short caudex [long, slender stolons], generally fleshy, glabrous. Stem: 1--few. Leaf: simple, oblong-ovate to spheric-reniform or cordate, crenate to dentate [entire]; basal petioles > blades. Inflorescence: cyme or flowers 1, terminal or axillary, bracts leaf-like. Flower: sepals 5--12, petal-like, white to yellow; petals 0; pistils 5--many, ovules. Fruit: follicle, sessile to short-stalked, generally beaked. Seed: brown, wrinkled.
Etymology: (Greek: ancient name, from bowl-shaped flower)
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce A. Ford
Caltha leptosepala DC.
Habit: Plant 8--48 cm. Leaf: petiole 3--25 cm, < to > blade; blade 2--9 cm wide, +- crenate. Inflorescence: peduncle generally > leaves, 1--4-flowered. Flower: sepals 5--11, oblong to elliptic. Fruit: 4--15, 7--18 mm; beak straight or +- curved.
Ecology: Marshes, pond margins, streambanks, conifer forest; Elevation: 900--3300 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaR, SNH, MP; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Montana, New Mexico. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Synonyms: Caltha leptosepala subsp. howellii (Huth) P.G. Smit; Caltha leptosepala var. biflora (DC.) G. Lawson
Jepson eFlora Author: Bruce A. Ford
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Next taxon: Caltha palustris

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Botanical illustration including Caltha leptosepala

botanical illustration including Caltha leptosepala


Citation for this treatment: Bruce A. Ford 2012, Caltha leptosepala, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 02, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 02, 2023.

Caltha leptosepala
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© 2006 George W. Hartwell
Caltha leptosepala
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© 2003 Christopher L. Christie
Caltha leptosepala
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© 2010 Barry Breckling
Caltha leptosepala
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© 2014 Steve Matson
Caltha leptosepala
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© 2002 Steve Matson
Caltha leptosepala
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© 2015 Barry Breckling

More photos of Caltha leptosepala in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Caltha leptosepala:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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).