Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Petalonyx nitidus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: LoasaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to subshrub; hairs needle-like, barbed, occasionally stinging. Leaf: alternate [opposite], generally +- pinnate-lobed; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme. Flower: bisexual, radial; sepals generally 5, generally persistent; petals generally 5, free or fused to each other or filament tube; stamens 5--many, filaments thread-like to flat, occasionally fused at base or in clusters; petal-like staminodes occasionally present; pistil 1, ovary inferior, chamber generally 1, placentas generally 3, parietal, style 1. Fruit: capsule or achene. Seed: 1--many.
Genera In Family: 18+ genera, 250 species: especially America (Africa, Pacific).
eFlora Treatment Author: Larry Hufford & Barry Prigge, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: PetalonyxView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Subshrub; hairs barbed. Leaf: linear to +- round, entire to toothed; base tapered to cordate. Inflorescence: raceme, generally terminal; bracts 3 per flower, outer 1 > inner 2. Flower: sepals +- deciduous; petals free or claws adherent, fused below blades; stamens generally 5, free; ovary +- ovoid, placenta 1, stigma 1. Fruit: achene, +- ovoid, generally 5-veined or -ribbed, erect. Seed: 1, 1.5--2.5 mm, +- fusiform, generally smooth. Chromosomes: 2n=46.
Etymology: (Greek: petal claw)
Reference: Davis & Thompson 1967 Madroño 19:1--32
Petalonyx nitidus S. Watson
Habit: Plant 15--45 cm. Leaf: 15--40 mm, generally ovate, widely tapered to base, acute to acuminate, serrate to sparsely dentate. Inflorescence: 3--4.5 cm; outer bract 5--13 mm, narrowly ovate; inner bracts 1--5 mm, elliptic to ovate, truncate, crenate; pedicels 1--2 mm. Flower: petals 5--11 mm, cream, upper 1/4 of claws adherent; stamens 7--14 mm, well exserted; style 8--15 mm.
Ecology: Sandy washes or rocky canyons, creosote-bush scrub, Joshua-tree woodland, pinyon/juniper woodland; Elevation: 725--2100 m. Bioregional Distribution: W&I, DMtns, w DMoj; Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Utah, northwestern Arizona. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Jepson eFlora Author: Larry Hufford & Barry Prigge
Reference: Davis & Thompson 1967 Madroño 19:1--32
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Petalonyx nitidus

botanical illustration including Petalonyx nitidus


Citation for this treatment: Larry Hufford & Barry Prigge 2012, Petalonyx nitidus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 30, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 30, 2023.

Petalonyx nitidus
click for enlargement
© 2016 James Morefield
Petalonyx nitidus
click for enlargement
© 2015 Steve Matson
Petalonyx nitidus
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson
Petalonyx nitidus
click for enlargement
© 2015 Steve Matson
Petalonyx nitidus
click for enlargement
© 2015 Steve Matson
Petalonyx nitidus
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson

More photos of Petalonyx nitidus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Petalonyx nitidus:
W&I, DMtns, w 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).


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).