Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Narthecium californicum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: NartheciaceaeView Description 
Habit: Perennial herb; rhizomes slender, creeping. Stem: simple, glabrous. Leaf: mostly basal, along rhizome, linear, grass-like, densely overlapped, cauline reduced. Inflorescence: raceme. Flower: perianth parts 6 in 2 petal-like whorls, erect in age, lance-linear; stamens 6, epipetalous, filaments densely hairy, anthers attached near middle; ovary superior, shallowly 3-lobed, chambers 3, style minutely 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal, weakly 3-lobed. Seed: many, bristle-tipped at both ends, pale yellow to brown.
Genera In Family: 5 or 6 genera, 17--29 species: generally northern temperate.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: NartheciumView Description 

Stem: erect, +- scapose, 10--70 cm. Leaf: upper 3--6 reduced. Flower: perianth parts free, yellow to green-yellow; stamens 6, filaments woolly; ovary lobes fused into a stylar beak. Seed: brown.
Species In Genus: 4--8 species: northern temperate. Etymology: (Greek: ancient name)
Narthecium californicum Baker
Stem: 20--60 cm. Leaf: basal 10--30 cm. Inflorescence: 8--15 cm; flower bract 1; pedicels overlapped or not, 5--12 mm, bractlets (0)1, generally above middle. Flower: 5--10 mm; anthers 3--4 mm. Fruit: +- 2 × perianth, lanceolate. Seed: 6--9 mm (including bristle-tips). Chromosomes: 2n=26.
Ecology: Wet meadows, streambanks; Elevation: 700--2600 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoRO, CaRH, n&c SNH. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug
Jepson eFlora Author: Dale W. McNeal
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Narthecium californicum

botanical illustration including Narthecium californicum


Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2012, Narthecium californicum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 25, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 25, 2022.

Narthecium californicum
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© 2011 Barry Rice
Narthecium californicum
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Narthecium californicum
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© 2006 George W. Hartwell
Narthecium californicum
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© 2019 Steve Matson
Narthecium californicum
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Narthecium californicum
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© 2011 Barry Rice

More photos of Narthecium californicum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Narthecium californicum:
KR, NCoRO, CaRH, n&c SNH.
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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).