Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Centranthus ruber

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ValerianaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, occasionally strongly scented, odor generally unpleasant. Leaf: simple to pinnately lobed or compound; petioles generally sheathing; basal +- whorled; cauline opposite, petioled to sessile. Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, or head-like, generally +- dense. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx fused to ovary tip, limb 0 or lobes generally 5--15, coiled inward, plumose in age, pappus-like, spreading in fruit; corolla radial to 2-lipped, lobes generally 5, throat generally > lobes, > tube, base generally spurred or swollen, tube slender, long or short; stamens generally 1--3, fused to petals; ovary inferior, chamber generally 1, or occasionally 3 but 2 empty or vestigial. Fruit: achene, smooth, ribbed, or winged.
Genera In Family: +- 17 genera, 300 species: generally temperate, worldwide except Australia. Some species cultivated (Centranthus), some medicinal (Valeriana).
eFlora Treatment Author: Abigail J. Moore & Lauramay T. Dempster, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CentranthusView Description 

Habit: Annual, perennial herb (in California). Stem: 1--many; base occasionally woody. Leaf: generally cauline, simple, entire to lobed [toothed]. Inflorescence: cyme, clustered, +- dense, open in age; terminal or axillary. Flower: calyx lobes 5--15, coiled inward, plumose in age, spreading, persistent in fruit; corolla +- funnel-shaped, lobes +- unequal, spreading, tube long, slender, long-spurred; stamen 1. Fruit: +- compressed; adaxial surface 1-veined, abaxial surface 3-veined.
Etymology: (Greek: spurred flower)
Centranthus ruber (L.) DC.
Habit: Plant glabrous, glaucous; base generally woody. Stem: decumbent to erect, simple or branched, 3--9 dm, hollow. Leaf: 5--8 cm, blades widely oblong to lance-elliptic, acute to rounded, entire, occasionally lobed at base; proximal petioled, distal sessile. Flower: corolla 14--18 mm, generally +- purple-red, occasionally lavender or white; spur (3)4--6 mm. Fruit: 3--4 mm, glabrous. Chromosomes: 2n=14.
Ecology: Disturbed places, rock or wall crevices, roadsides; Elevation: < 1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: s NCo, KR, NCoRO, SNF, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SW, cultivated elsewhere; Distribution Outside California: native to Mediterranean Europe. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Jepson eFlora Author: Abigail J. Moore & Lauramay T. Dempster
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Abigail J. Moore & Lauramay T. Dempster 2012, Centranthus ruber, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on March 04, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on March 04, 2024.

Centranthus ruber
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©2018 Barry Rice
Centranthus ruber
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©2015 Barry Breckling
Centranthus ruber
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©2009 Neal Kramer
Centranthus ruber
click for enlargement
©2009 Neal Kramer
Centranthus ruber
click for enlargement
©2018 Barry Rice

More photos of Centranthus ruber
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Centranthus ruber:
s NCo, KR, NCoRO, SNF, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SW, cultivated elsewhere
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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).