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Vascular Plants of California
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Caulanthus crassicaulis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub; sap pungent, watery. Leaf: generally simple, alternate; generally both basal, cauline; stipules 0. Inflorescence: generally raceme, generally not bracted. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals 4, generally free; petals (0)4, forming a cross, generally white or yellow to purple; stamens generally 6 (2 or 4), 4 long, 2 short (3 pairs of unequal length); ovary 1, superior, generally 2-chambered with septum connecting 2 parietal placentas; style 1, stigma entire or 2-lobed. Fruit: capsule, generally 2-valved, "silique" (length >= 3 × width) or "silicle" (length < 3 × width), dehiscent by 2 valves or indehiscent, cylindric or flat parallel or perpendicular to septum, segmented or not. Seed: 1--many, in 1 or 2 rows per chamber, winged or wingless; embryo strongly curved.
Genera In Family: +- 330 genera, 3780 species: worldwide, especially temperate. Note: Highest diversity in Mediterranean area, mountains of southwestern Asia, adjacent central Asia, western North America; some Brassica species are oil or vegetable crops; Arabidopsis thaliana used in experimental molecular biology; many species are ornamentals, weeds. Aurinia saxatilis (L.) Desvaux in cultivation only. Aubrieta occasional waif in central NCoR, Carrichtera annua (L.) DC. in SCo, Iberis sempervirens L., Iberis umbellata L. in PR, Teesdalia coronopifolia (Bergeret) Thell., Teesdalia nudicaulis (L.) W.T. Aiton in southern NCoRO, CCo. Cardaria, Coronopus moved to Lepidium; Caulostramina to Hesperidanthus; Guillenia to Caulanthus; Heterodraba to Athysanus; California taxa of Lesquerella to Physaria; Malcolmia africana to Strigosella.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CaulanthusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb, glabrous or hairs simple (forked). Leaf: basal rosetted or not, petioled, entire, dentate or pinnately lobed, generally deciduous; cauline petioled, or sessile with bases lobed or sagittate. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: calyx urn-shaped or cylindric, sepals erect (spreading), base sac-like or not; petals yellow, purple, brown, or white, generally channeled, margin wavy or not; stamens in 3 pairs of equal length, or 4 long and 2 short, (all equal), free or filaments of longer pair(s) fused. Fruit: silique, linear, dehiscent, unsegmented, +- sessile, cylindric (flat perpendicular or parallel to septum); stigma entire or 2-lobed. Seed: 24--210, 1 row per chamber, oblong to ovate (+- spheric), plump, wing 0.
Etymology: (Greek: stem flower, in reference to insertion of flowers along stem)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Caulanthus crassicaulis (Torr.) S. Watson
Habit: Perennial herb from woody caudex; glabrous or sparsely hairy. Stem: 2--10 dm, inflated to 3 cm wide, simple (branched). Leaf: basal rosetted 2--20 cm, obovate to oblanceolate, glabrous or hairy, entire to dentate or pinnately lobed, persistent; cauline petioled, linear to narrowly oblanceolate, entire, base not lobed. Inflorescence: terminal sterile flower cluster present. Flower: sepals 7.5--14 mm, creamy white to +- green or purple; petals 10--15 mm, margins not wavy, purple or brown; stamens 4 long, 2 short. Fruit: erect to ascending, 4.5--14 cm, 2--2.5 mm wide, cylindric; style 0.1--0.6 mm, stigma strongly 2-lobed, lobes to 1 mm, opposite valves; pedicel ascending, 1--5 mm. Seed: 98--126, 1.5--4 mm, oblong; cotyledons entire. Chromosomes: 2n=28.
Ecology: Dry sagebrush scrub, pinyon/juniper woodland; Elevation: 900--2900 m. Bioregional Distribution: W&I, n&c DMtns; Distribution Outside California: to Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul Note: Recognition of Caulanthus crassicaulis var. glaber based only on unreliable differences in hairs of leaves, sepals.
Synonyms: Caulanthus crassicaulis var. crassicaulis; Caulanthus crassicaulis var. glaber M.E. Jones; Caulanthus glaber (M.E. Jones) Rydb.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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botanical illustration including Caulanthus crassicaulis

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Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Caulanthus crassicaulis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 12, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 12, 2024.

Caulanthus crassicaulis
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©2016 Keir Morse
Caulanthus crassicaulis
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©2009 Steve Matson
Caulanthus crassicaulis
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©2009 Steve Matson
Caulanthus crassicaulis  
var. glaber
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©2006 James M. Andre
Caulanthus crassicaulis
click for enlargement
©2016 Keir Morse

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in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Caulanthus crassicaulis:
W&I, n&c DMtns
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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).