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Vascular Plants of California
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Lunaria annua

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: LunariaView Description 

Habit: Annual to perennial herb; hairs simple. Leaf: simple, long-petioled, dentate; cauline leaf bases not lobed. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: sepals erect, linear, lateral pair sac-like at base; petals long-clawed. Fruit: silicle, widely elliptic to round or oblong, flat parallel to septum, dehiscent, long-stalked above receptacle, unsegmented; style long, slender, stigma 2-lobed. Seed: 4--8, in 2 rows, flat, winged; stalks fused to septum.
Etymology: (Latin: moon, from shiny fruit septum)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Lunaria annua L.
Habit: (Annual) biennial. Stem: (3)4--10(12) dm, hairy at least proximally. Leaf: basal (1.5)3--12(18) cm, (1)2--8(12) cm wide, wide-cordate to cordate-ovate; petiole (1.5)3--10(17) cm; distal sessile. Flower: sepals (5)6--9(10) mm; petals (1.5)1.7--2.5(3) cm, 5--10 mm wide, wide-obovate, purple to lavender (white); claw 5--10 mm. Fruit: 3--5 cm, 2--3(3.5) cm wide, oblong-round; stalk above receptacle 7--18 mm; style 4--10 mm; pedicel (0.7)1--1.5 cm. Seed: (6)7--10(12) mm, 5--9 mm wide, reniform. Chromosomes: 2n=30.
Ecology: Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: CaR, CCo, SnFrB, SCo; Distribution Outside California: Canada, United States; native to Europe. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun
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 Lunaria annua

botanical illustration including Lunaria annua


Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Lunaria annua, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 26, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 26, 2022.

Lunaria annua
click for enlargement
© 2021 Aaron Schusteff
Lunaria annua
click for enlargement
© 2012 Gary A. Monroe
Lunaria annua
click for enlargement
© 2012 Gary A. Monroe
Lunaria annua
click for enlargement
© 2021 Aaron Schusteff
Lunaria annua
click for enlargement
© 2021 Aaron Schusteff

More photos of Lunaria annua in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Lunaria annua:
CaR, CCo, SnFrB, SCo
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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).