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Vascular Plants of California
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Hesperochiron californicus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BoraginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub or small tree, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, generally simple, generally alternate. Inflorescence: generally cymes, or panicle-, raceme-, head-, or spike-like, generally coiled in flower (often described as scorpioid), generally elongating in fruit, or flowers 1--2 per axil. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals (4)5(10), fused at least at base, or free; corolla (4)5(10)-lobed, salverform, funnel-shaped, rotate, or bell-shaped, generally without scales at tube base, with 0 or 5 appendages at tube top, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary generally superior, entire to 4-lobed, style 1(2), entire or 2-lobed or -branched. Fruit: valvate or circumscissile capsule or nutlets 1--4, free (fused), smooth to roughened, prickly or bristly or not.
Genera In Family: +- 120 genera, +- 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum, Wigandia). Toxicity: Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. Note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. Wigandia urens added, as naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera, treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.
Genus: HesperochironView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, scapose; root caudex-like. Leaf: in basal rosette, spreading or ascending; blade tapered to petiole, generally entire, generally ciliate. Inflorescence: flowers 1; peduncle erect or spreading, 1--10 cm, slender. Flower: calyx lobes 2--9 mm, generally not alike, glabrous to hairy, ciliate; corolla scales 0, tube generally dense-hairy inside, throat generally yellow, lobes glabrous to hairy, white or +- blue, generally tinged or marked with lavender or purple; stamens included, generally unequal, filament base widened; ovary hairy, chamber 1, style 1, 2--5 mm, stigmas 2. Fruit: capsule, 5--11 mm, ovoid, hairy. Seed: many, ovoid, angular, red-brown, honeycombed or pitted.
Species In Genus: 2 species: western United States, northern Mexico. Etymology: (Greek: evening or western centaur)
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse
Hesperochiron californicus (Benth.) S. Watson
Habit: Rhizomes 0. Leaf: generally > 6, < 8 cm, < 3 cm wide, oblanceolate to elliptic or ovate. Inflorescence: flowers generally > 5 per plant. Flower: corolla 10--30 mm, limb 10--20 mm wide, lobes 3--10 mm, oblong. Chromosomes: n=8.
Ecology: Wet meadows, flats, valleys; Elevation: 770--2620 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaRH, SNH, Teh, WTR, SnBr, GB, s DMoj (Rabbit Springs, San Bernardino Co.); Distribution Outside California: to Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Synonyms: Ourisia californica Benth.; Hesperochiron californicus var. benthamianus Brand; Hesperochiron californicus var. strigosus Brand; Capnorea strigosa Greene; Hesperochiron californicus var. latifolius (Kellogg) Brand; Hesperochiron latifolius Kellogg; Hesperochiron californicus var. watsonianus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea watsoniana Greene; Hesperochiron californicus subvar. lasianthus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea lasiantha Greene; Hesperochiron californicus var. incanus (Greene) Brand; Hesperochiron californicus subvar. leporinus (Greene) Brand; Capnorea incanus Greene; Capnorea macilenta Greene; Hesperochiron nanus (Lindl.) Greene; Capnorea nana (Lindl.) Raf.; Nicotiana nana Lindl.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Hesperochiron californicus

botanical illustration including Hesperochiron californicus


Citation for this treatment: Robert Patterson & Richard R. Halse 2012, Hesperochiron californicus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 18, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 18, 2021.

Hesperochiron californicus
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© 2007 Steve Matson
Hesperochiron californicus
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© 2012 Neal Kramer
Hesperochiron californicus
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© 2012 Neal Kramer
Hesperochiron californicus
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© 2012 Neal Kramer
Hesperochiron californicus
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© 2016 Aaron Schusteff
Hesperochiron californicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Neal Kramer

More photos of Hesperochiron californicus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Hesperochiron californicus:
KR, CaRH, SNH, Teh, WTR, SnBr, GB, s DMoj (Rabbit Springs, San Bernardino Co.)
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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).


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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).