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Vascular Plants of California
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Monardella purpurea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: MINT FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub [tree, vine], glabrous to hairy, generally aromatic. Stem: generally erect, generally 4-angled. Leaf: generally simple to deeply lobed, generally opposite, generally gland-dotted. Inflorescence: generally cymes, generally many in dense axillary clusters surrounding stem, generally separated by evident internodes or collectively crowded, spike- or panicle-like, occasionally head-like or raceme, subtended by leaves or bracts; flowers sessile or pedicelled. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx generally 5-lobed, radial to bilateral; corolla generally bilateral, 1--2-lipped, upper lip entire or 2-lobed, +- flat to hood-like, occasionally 0, lower lip generally 3-lobed; stamens generally 4, epipetalous, generally exserted, paired, pairs generally unequal, occasionally 2, staminodes 2 or 0; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed to base chambers 2, ovules 2 per chamber, style 1, generally arising from center at junction of lobes, stigmas generally 2. Fruit: generally 4 nutlets, generally ovoid to oblong, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 230 genera, 7200 species: worldwide. Many cultivated for herbs, oils (Lavandula, lavender; Mentha, mint; Rosmarinus, rosemary; Thymus, thyme), some cultivated as ornamental (in California Cedronella, Leonotis, Monarda, Phlomis). Note: Moluccella laevis L., shell flower, historical waif in California. Satureja calamintha (L.) Scheele subsp. ascendens (Jordan) Briq. reported as alien but not naturalized. Salazaria moved to Scutellaria; California Hyptis moved to Condea, California Satureja moved to Clinopodium.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken & Margriet Wetherwax, family description, key to genera, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: MonardellaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to shrub, +- gland-dotted, scented. Leaf: entire to serrate, margin flat or wavy; petioles 0 or present, often grading into blade. Inflorescence: flowers in compact clusters of >= 1 per main stem, these occasionally arrayed in panicles (rarely spikes); flowers 3--100 per cluster; bracts generally erect in a cup-like involucre or reflexed, reduced in size inward, leaf-like to membranous in texture, green or straw-colored to rose or purple, linear to ovate, acuminate to acute or obtuse. Flower: calyx 5-lobed; 4--25 mm; corolla white to purple or yellow to red, weakly bilateral, upper lip erect, 2-lobed, lower lip recurved, 3-lobed; stamens 4; style unequally 2-lobed.
Species In Genus: > 30 species: western North America. Etymology: (Latin: small Monarda) Note: Complex; study needed; many taxa intergrade; flower cluster width and bract orientation given for pressed specimens. Leaf length including petiole, if present. M. Brunell authored Monardella follettii (in part), Monardella odoratissima (in part), Monardella palmeri, Monardella purpurea, Monardella sheltonii (in part), Monardella stebbinsii, Monardella villosa (in part).
eFlora Treatment Author: Andrew C. Sanders, Mark A. Elvin & Mark S. Brunell
Reference: Elvin & Sanders 2009 Novon 19:315--343; Epling 1925 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 12:1--106; Jepson 1943 Fl California 431--444
Unabridged Reference: Abrams 1951 Ill Fl Pac Sts V III:648--660
Monardella purpurea Howell
Habit: Subshrub, erect, open, +- glabrous. Stem: 10--40 cm, dark purple (green), shiny, internodes generally >= leaves. Leaf: 12--30 mm, 5--10 mm wide, lance-oblong, shiny, deep purple to green, leathery, margin entire (serrate). Inflorescence: flower cluster 1 per main stem, 15--25 mm wide, obscurely gland-dotted; outermost bracts 9--13(14) mm, 5--7 mm wide, leaf-like (in color, texture), generally narrowly lanceolate; remaining bracts +- ovate, leathery, purple-tinged, glabrous (hairy), strongly ciliate; cilia multicellular, generally 0.3--0.8 mm. Flower: calyx 6--8 mm, tube slender-stalked-glandular (hairs <= 0.7 mm), sometimes also nonglandular-hairy (hairs multicellular), lobes and sinus area stiff-hairy, purple; corolla 12--16 mm, exserted, rose or purple.
Ecology: Rocky slopes, generally on serpentine or related bedrock, chaparral, woodland, montane forest; Elevation: 400--1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoRO, SnFrB; Distribution Outside California: Oregon. Flowering Time: Jun--Jul
Unabridged Synonyms: Monardella neglecta Greene; Monardella odoratissima var. neglecta (Greene) Jeps.; Monardella villosa subsp. neglecta (Greene) Epling; Monardella villosa var. neglecta (Greene) Jeps.
Unabridged Note: In California, distributed from Del Norte and Siskiyou cos. to Marin Co., although plants very rare or absent from Mendocino Co. Plants of Humboldt and northern Sonoma cos. generally intergrade in leaf and hair characters with Monardella villosa, and plants of Siskiyou Co. intergrade with Monardella odoratissima. If recognized taxonomically, plants of the Mount Tamalpais/Tiburon Peninsula region assignable to Monardella villosa subsp. neglecta (Greene) Epling; in comparison to more northern pls, these plants generally have internodes > 64 mm (vs shorter), bract length-to-width ratio of > 1.8 (vs < 1.8), generally > 1 flower cluster per main stem (vs generally 1 flower cluster per main stem), occasionally serrate leaves (vs entire leaves), and peduncle width > 1 mm (vs < 1 mm). Occasionally plants from Sonoma Co. combine flower cluster characters of some plants of Monardella villosa from San Luis Obispo Co. (those assignable to Monardella villosa subsp. subglabra; see discussion under Monardella villosa) and leaf characters of Monardella palmeri. Reports of Monardella purpurea from Santa Clara Co. (near Loma Prieta) and Santa Cruz Co. are unverified.
Jepson eFlora Author: Andrew C. Sanders, Mark A. Elvin & Mark S. Brunell
Reference: Elvin & Sanders 2009 Novon 19:315--343; Epling 1925 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 12:1--106; Jepson 1943 Fl California 431--444
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Monardella purpurea

botanical illustration including Monardella purpurea


Citation for this treatment: Andrew C. Sanders, Mark A. Elvin & Mark S. Brunell 2012, Monardella purpurea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 13, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 13, 2021.

Monardella purpurea
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Monardella purpurea
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© 2009 Vernon Smith
Monardella purpurea
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Monardella purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson

More photos of Monardella purpurea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Monardella purpurea:
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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.
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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).