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Vascular Plants of California
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Lyrocarpa coulteri

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: LyrocarpaView Description 

Habit: [Annual] perennial herb, occasionally subshrub; hairs dense throughout, many-branched. Leaf: petioled; basal not rosetted; cauline dentate to pinnately lobed, petioled, base not lobed. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: sepals erect, linear to linear-oblong, base of lateral pair sac-like; petals linear to spoon-shaped, long-clawed, +- yellow to brown or purple. Fruit: dehiscent, obcordate [to lyre-shaped], flat perpendicular to septum, unsegmented; stigma prominently 2-lobed. Seed: 6--16[20], wingless.
Etymology: (Greek: lyre fruit, from fruit shape)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Lyrocarpa coulteri Hook. & Harv.
Habit: Perennial herb or subshrub. Stem: (2)3--9(11) dm, straw-colored, woody proximally. Leaf: petiole 0.5--2.5(4) cm; blade (1)2--9(12) cm, (0.5)1--5(7) cm wide, lanceolate to ovate; distal less divided, dentate to wavy. Flower: sepals (6)8--10(11) mm; petals (1.3)1.6--2.5 cm, 1--3 mm wide, claw 7--12 mm. Fruit: (0.8)1--2.5 cm, (0.8)1--1.6 cm wide, obcordate, base obtuse, tip notched to truncate; valves hairy; style 0--0.5 mm; stigma lobes spreading; pedicel ascending to spreading (reflexed), 2--7(11) mm. Seed: 6--16, 2--3 mm wide, round. Chromosomes: 2n=36,42.
Ecology: Dry slopes, gravelly flats, washes, sandy plains, ravines, granite hillsides; Elevation: < 1300 m. Bioregional Distribution: DSon; Distribution Outside California: Arizona, Baja California. Flowering Time: Sep--Apr Note: Fruit shape extremely variable.
Synonyms: Lyrocarpa coulteri var. coulteri; Lyrocarpa coulteri var. palmeri (S. Watson) Rollins
Unabridged Note: Lyrocarpa coulteri var. palmeri is based on minor differences of continuous characters such as fruit shape, seed number.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Botanical illustration including Lyrocarpa coulteri

botanical illustration including Lyrocarpa coulteri

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Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Lyrocarpa coulteri, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 21, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 21, 2024.

Lyrocarpa coulteri
click for enlargement
©2015 Keir Morse
Lyrocarpa coulteri
click for enlargement
©2015 Keir Morse
Lyrocarpa coulteri
click for enlargement
©2004 Michael Charters
Lyrocarpa coulteri  
var. coulteri
click for enlargement
©2010 Keir Morse
Lyrocarpa coulteri  
var. coulteri
click for enlargement
©2010 Keir Morse

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Geographic subdivisions for Lyrocarpa coulteri:
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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.
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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).