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Vascular Plants of California
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Comastoma tenellum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: GentianaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to perennial herb [to trees]. Stem: decumbent to erect, < 2 m, simple or branched. Leaf: simple, cauline, sometimes also basal, opposite or whorled, entire, sessile or basal +- petioled; stipules 0. Flower: bisexual, radial, parts in 4s or 5s except pistil 1; sepals fused, persistent; petals fused, +- persistent, sinus between lobes often unappendaged; stamens epipetalous, alternate corolla lobes; ovary superior, chamber 1, placentas parietal, often intruding, stigmas 1--2. Fruit: capsule, 2-valved. Seed: many.
Genera In Family: +- 90 genera, 1800 species: worldwide; some cultivated (Eustoma, Exacum, Gentiana). Note: Gentianella tenella moved to Comastoma. Key to genera revised by Bruce G. Baldwin.
eFlora Treatment Author: James S. Pringle, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ComastomaView Description 

Habit: Annual, glabrous. Leaf: basal, cauline, opposite. Inflorescence: flowers 1, terminal on branches; pedicels >> subtending internode. Flower: parts generally in 4s; calyx tube << lobes; corolla < 2 cm, narrowly funnel-shaped, lobes spreading, < tube, +- entire, with 2 fringed scales on adaxial surface near base, nectary pits 0 (nectaries on lower corolla tube); ovary sessile, style +- 0, stigmas 2, persistent.
Etymology: (Greek: hair, mouth, from fringes on corolla lobes)
Comastoma tenellum (Rottb.) Toyok.
Habit: Plant < 15(25) cm. Stem: decumbent to erect, 1--25, simple or branched near base. Leaf: generally basal, < 20 mm, elliptic-oblong to spoon-shaped; cauline 1--4 pairs, smaller. Inflorescence: pedicels 2--10 cm. Flower: calyx 4--11 mm, lobes ovate to lanceolate; corolla 6--17 mm, pale violet-blue to white, lobes 2--4.5 mm, ovate-oblong. Chromosomes: 2n=10.
Ecology: Open, wet places; Elevation: 3200--3900 m. Bioregional Distribution: c&s SNH, W&I; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Colorado; circumpolar. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug
Synonyms: Gentiana tenella Rottb.; Gentianella tenella (Rottb.) Börner; Gentianella tenella subsp. tenella; Gentianella tenella var. tenella; Comastoma tenellum (Rottb.) Toyok. var. tenellum
Jepson eFlora Author: James S. Pringle
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Comastoma tenellum

botanical illustration including Comastoma tenellum


Citation for this treatment: James S. Pringle 2012, Comastoma tenellum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 03, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 03, 2023.

Comastoma tenellum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson
Comastoma tenellum
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© 2017 Neal Kramer
Comastoma tenellum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson
Comastoma tenellum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson
Comastoma tenellum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson
Comastoma tenellum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson

More photos of Comastoma tenellum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Comastoma tenellum:
c&s SNH, W&I
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).