Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Orthilia secunda

Higher Taxonomy
Family: EricaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree. Stem: bark often peeling distinctively. Leaf: simple or 0, generally cauline, alternate, opposite (whorled), evergreen or deciduous, often leathery, petioled or not; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers 1, terminal or axillary, generally bracted; pedicel often with 2 bractlets. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial, bell-shaped, cylindric, or urn-shaped; sepals generally (0)4--5, generally free; petals generally (0)4--5, free or fused; stamens (2--5)8--10, free, filaments rarely appendaged, anthers dehiscing by pores or slits, awns 0 or 2(4), seemingly abaxial, reduced or elongate, generally curved; nectary generally present at ovary base, generally disk-like; ovary superior or inferior, chambers generally 1--5, placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1--many per chamber, style 1, stigma head- to funnel-like or lobed. Fruit: capsule, drupe, berry. Seed: generally many, winged or not.
Genera In Family: +- 100 genera, 3000 species: generally worldwide except deserts; some cultivated, especially Arbutus, Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium. Note: Monophyletic only if Empetraceae included, as treated here. Ledum included in Rhododendron. Non-green plants obtain nutrition from green plants through fungal intermediates.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary D. Wallace, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Gary D. Wallace, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: OrthiliaView Description 

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Greek: straight spiral, from 1-sided raceme) Note: Once placed in Pyrola.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary D. Wallace & Erich Haber
Unabridged Reference: Haber & Cruise 1974 Canad J Bot 52:877--883
Orthilia secunda (L.) House
Habit: Perennial herb, +- shrubby or not, < 20 cm, evergreen, rhizomed. Leaf: +- cauline, generally near base, 1.5--6 cm, ovate-elliptic, leathery or not, entire to finely crenate, petioled. Inflorescence: raceme, elongate, 1-sided, arched, +- erect in fruit; peduncle densely papillate; bracts several, generally lanceolate. Flower: radial, +- closed, parts in 5s, free; petals with 2 basal tubercles adaxially, +- green to cream-white; stamens 10, filaments +- narrow throughout, glabrous, anther pores not on tubes; nectary present; ovary superior, style straight, exserted, stigma peltate, lobes 5, shallow, domed. Fruit: capsule, pendent; valves opening base to tip, margins fibrous. Chromosomes: 2n=38.
Ecology: Dry, shady, conifer forests; Elevation: 1000--3200 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoRH, NCoRO, s CaRH, SNH, SnBr, SnJt, MP, SNE (exc W&I); Distribution Outside California: circumboreal, subarctic, North America, Central America, Eurasia. Flowering Time: Jul--Sep
Synonyms: Pyrola secunda L.
Jepson eFlora Author: Gary D. Wallace & Erich Haber
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Orthilia
Next taxon: Phyllodoce

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Botanical illustration including Orthilia secunda

botanical illustration including Orthilia secunda


Citation for this treatment: Gary D. Wallace & Erich Haber 2012, Orthilia secunda, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=35496, accessed on February 21, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 21, 2020.

Orthilia secunda
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Orthilia secunda
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© 2010 Keir Morse
Orthilia secunda
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© 2016 Barry Rice
Orthilia secunda
click for enlargement
© 2010 Keir Morse
Orthilia secunda
click for enlargement
© 2010 Keir Morse
Orthilia secunda
click for enlargement
© 2003 Steve Matson

More photos of Orthilia secunda in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Orthilia secunda:
KR, NCoRH, NCoRO, s CaRH, SNH, SnBr, SnJt, MP, SNE (exc W&I)
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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.
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).