Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Oxystylis lutea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CleomaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, often ill-smelling. Leaf: generally 1-palmate, generally alternate, generally petioled; stipules generally minute, often bristle-like or hairy; leaflets 0 or 3--7. Inflorescence: raceme, head, or flowers 1, expanded in fruit; bracts generally 3-parted below, simple above, or 0. Flower: generally bisexual, radial to +- bilateral; sepals generally 4, free or fused, generally persistent; petals generally 4, free, +- clawed; stamens generally 6, free, exserted, anthers generally coiling at dehiscence; ovary superior, generally on stalk-like receptacle, chamber generally 1, placentas generally 2, parietal, style 1, persistent, stigma generally minute, +- head-like. Fruit: 2 nutlets or generally capsule, septicidal; valves generally 2, deciduous, leaving septum (frame-like placentas) behind; pedicel generally +- reflexed to spreading.
Genera In Family: 17 genera, +- 150 species: widespread tropics to arid temperate. Note: Treated as Capparaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: OxystylisView Description 

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Greek: sharp style)
Oxystylis lutea Torr. & Frém.
Habit: Annual, +- glabrous. Stem: branched from base, 5--15 dm. Leaf: petiole 2.5--7 cm; leaflets 3, 2--6 cm, +- elliptic, thick, firm. Inflorescence: axillary head, 0.5--3 cm, +- spheric, +- sessile, not elongating in fruit; pedicels 1--3 mm, thicker, reflexed in fruit. Flower: radial; sepals free, 1--2 mm, lanceolate, green; petals 2--3 mm, elliptic, straw-yellow, +- sessile; stamens 3--5 mm, yellow, anthers 1--1.2 mm; ovary 1--1.5 mm, +- sessile, lobes 2, +- separate, each 1-ovuled, style 2--3 mm, wide, fleshy at base. Fruit: 2 nutlets, each 2.5 mm, +- spheric, smooth, white to deep purple; receptacle < 2 mm, +- stalk-like; style 4--11 mm, stout, spine-like. Seed: 1 per nutlet. Chromosomes: 2n=20,40.
Ecology: Desert wash, alkaline sink scrub, alkaline flats, in sandy or alkaline soil; Elevation: < 945 m. Bioregional Distribution: n&e DMoj; Distribution Outside California: western Nevada (Amargosa Desert). Flowering Time: Mar--Oct
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Oxystylis lutea

botanical illustration including Oxystylis lutea


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2012, Oxystylis lutea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 26, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 26, 2022.

Oxystylis lutea
click for enlargement
© 2010 James M. Andre
Oxystylis lutea
click for enlargement
© 2005 Aaron Schusteff
Oxystylis lutea
click for enlargement
© 2005 Aaron Schusteff
Oxystylis lutea
click for enlargement
© 2010 James M. Andre
Oxystylis lutea
click for enlargement
© 2005 Aaron Schusteff
Oxystylis lutea
click for enlargement
© 2010 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Oxystylis lutea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Oxystylis lutea:
n&e DMoj
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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).