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Vascular Plants of California
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Matelea parvifolia

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ApocynaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, tree, often vine; sap generally milky. Leaf: simple, alternate, opposite, subwhorled to whorled, entire; stipules 0 or small, finger-like. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal, cyme, generally umbel- or raceme-like, or flowers 1--2. Flower: bisexual, radial; perianth parts, especially petals, overlapped, twisted to right or left, at least in bud; sepals generally 5, fused at base, often reflexed, persistent; petals generally 5, fused in basal +- 1/2; stamens generally 5, attached to corolla tube or throat, alternate lobes, free or fused to form filament column and anther head, filament column then generally with 5 free or fused, +- elaborate appendages abaxially, pollen +- free or removed in pairs of pollinia; nectaries 0 or near ovaries, then 2 or 5[10], or in stigmatic chambers; ovaries 2, superior or +- so, free [fused]; style tips, stigmas generally fused into massive pistil head. Fruit: 1--2 follicles, (capsule), [berry, drupe]. Seed: many, often with tuft of hairs at 1 or both ends.
Genera In Family: 200--450 genera, 3000--5000 species: all continents, especially tropics, subtropical South America, southern Africa; many ornamental (including Asclepias, Hoya, Nerium, Plumeria, Stapelia); cardiac glycosides, produced by some members formerly treated in Asclepiadaceae, used as arrow poisons, in medicine to control heart function, and by various insects for defense. Note: Asclepiadaceae ("asclepiads"), although monophyletic, included in Apocynaceae because otherwise the latter is paraphyletic. Complexity of floral structure, variation in asclepiads arguably greatest among all angiosperms. Pattern of carpel fusion (carpels free in ovule-bearing region, fused above), present +- throughout Apocynaceae (in broad sense), nearly unknown in other angiosperms. Base chromosome number generally 11; abundance of latex, generally small size of chromosomes evidently have impeded cytological investigations.
eFlora Treatment Author: Thomas J. Rosatti, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: MateleaView Description 

Habit: Perennial herb [shrub]. Stem: twining [prostrate to erect]. Leaf: opposite; blade ovate, cordate, hastate [round]. Inflorescence: at nodes, flowers 1--2peduncles < pedicels or 0 [raceme-, umbel-, or panicle-like cyme]. Flower: corolla spreading to +- erect, ring of tissue at base 0; filament column appendages fused into 5-lobed, cup- or plate-like structure around anther head [free], attached to base of filament column, each with a vertical, flap-like projection fused to filament column, forming compartments within cup [projections otherwise or 0], solid (margins fused to those of adjacent filament column appendages), anthers fused into anther head around and fused to pistil head, pollen in pollinia; pistil head flat; nectaries in stigmatic chambers. Fruit: erect or pendent, fusiform to lance-ovoid or ovoid, smooth, with tubercles [longitudinal wings]. Chromosomes: 2n=22 (reports not including California plants).

eFlora Treatment Author: Thomas J. Rosatti
Reference: Ezcurra & Belgrano 2007 Syst Bot 32:856--861
Unabridged Reference: Krings & Saville 2007 Syst Bot 32:862--871; Liede-Schumann & Meve 2006; Stevens 1976 Diss Abstr B 37(2):587
Matelea parvifolia (Torr.) Woodson
Stem: slender, much branched, to 0.5 m. Leaf: blade generally << 1 cm. Flower: corolla with acute, turned out tooth in each sinus between lobes, +- green or purple. Fruit: +- 7 cm, with fine longitudinal grooves.
Ecology: Dry rocky areas; Elevation: 700--1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: D; Distribution Outside California: to Nevada, Texas, Baja California. Flowering Time: Mar--May
Synonyms: Gonolobus californicus Jeps.
Jepson eFlora Author: Thomas J. Rosatti
Reference: Ezcurra & Belgrano 2007 Syst Bot 32:856--861
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 Matelea parvifolia

botanical illustration including Matelea parvifolia

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Citation for this treatment: Thomas J. Rosatti 2012, Matelea parvifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 11, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 11, 2023.

Matelea parvifolia
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©2014 Keir Morse
Matelea parvifolia
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©2005 Aaron Schusteff
Matelea parvifolia
click for enlargement
©2014 Keir Morse
Matelea parvifolia
click for enlargement
©2014 Keir Morse
Matelea parvifolia
click for enlargement
©2014 Keir Morse

More photos of Matelea parvifolia
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Geographic subdivisions for Matelea parvifolia:
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).