Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Mortonia utahensis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CelastraceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Shrub (climbing or not), tree, thorny or not, generally glabrous. Leaf: simple, opposite or alternate, deciduous to persistent, subsessile or petioled; veins pinnate. Inflorescence: cluster, cyme, raceme, panicle, or 1-flowered, axillary or terminal, bracted. Flower: generally bisexual, radial, small; hypanthium +- cup-shaped; sepals 4--5; petals (0)4--5, free; stamens 4--5, alternate petals, attached below or to rim of disk; ovary superior or +- embedded in disk, 2--5-chambered, placentas axile or basal, style generally 1, short, stigma +- head-like, 2--5-lobed. Fruit: capsule, winged achene, berry, drupe, or nutlet, often 1-chambered. Seed: generally 1 per chamber, arilled.
Genera In Family: 50 genera, 800 species: worldwide, especially southeastern Asia; some ornamental (Celastrus, Euonymus, Maytenus, Paxistima).
eFlora Treatment Author: Michael A. Vincent & Barry A. Prigge
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MortoniaView Description 

Habit: Shrub, erect, scabrous. Leaf: alternate, persistent, ascending, leathery, entire; margin generally thicker. Inflorescence: panicle, terminal, many-flowered. Flower: parts in 5s; hypanthium obconic; petals white; disk fused to hypanthium except at top, fleshy, +- white, in age red-purple; ovary superior, narrowly ovoid, stigma lobes 5, slender, spreading. Fruit: nutlet 1, oblong-cylindric, light brown. Seed: 1, straw-colored, difficult to separate from fruit; aril 0.
Species In Genus: 5 species: southwestern United States, Mexico. Etymology: (S.G. Morton, American botanist, physician, 1799--1851)
Mortonia utahensis (Trel.) A. Nelson
Habit: Plant 3--12 dm, coarsely scabrous. Stem: twigs cream-white, in age gray. Leaf: petiole +- 0--1 mm; blade 6--16 mm, ovate to round, abaxially concave transversely, convex longitudinally, base rounded to tapered, tip rounded to acute, mucronate or not. Inflorescence: 8--65 mm, 6--23 mm wide. Flower: hypanthium 1.5--2 mm; sepals 1--2.3 mm, keeled, tips often acute, keeled; petals 2.2--3 mm, ovate. Fruit: 5--7 mm, glabrous.
Ecology: Limestone slopes, canyon bottoms; Elevation: 350--2100 m. Bioregional Distribution: n DMoj; Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Utah. Flowering Time: Mar--May
Jepson eFlora Author: Michael A. Vincent & Barry A. Prigge
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Next taxon: Paxistima

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Botanical illustration including Mortonia utahensis

botanical illustration including Mortonia utahensis


Citation for this treatment: Michael A. Vincent & Barry A. Prigge 2012, Mortonia utahensis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 17, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 17, 2021.

Mortonia utahensis
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© 2010 James M. Andre
Mortonia utahensis
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Mortonia utahensis
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Mortonia utahensis
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Mortonia utahensis
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© 2016 Dana York
Mortonia utahensis
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© 2016 Dana York

More photos of Mortonia utahensis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Mortonia utahensis:
n DMoj
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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).