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Vascular Plants of California
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Pholistoma membranaceum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: HydrophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, generally hairy, generally taprooted. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: simple to pinnately compound, basal or cauline, alternate or opposite; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cyme, generally raceme-like and coiled, or flowers 1. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; calyx lobes generally 5, generally fused at base, generally persistent, enlarging in fruit; corolla rotate to cylindric, generally deciduous, lobes generally 5, appendages in pairs on tube between filaments or 0; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, filament base sometimes appendaged, appendages scale-like; ovary generally superior, chambers 1 or 2, placentas 2, parietal, enlarged into chamber, sometimes meeting so ovary appears 2--5-chambered, style 1, style branches 2, stigmas generally head-like. Fruit: capsule, generally loculicidal; valves generally 2.
Genera In Family: 12 genera, 240--260 species: especially western US; some cultivated (Emmenanthe, Nemophila, Phacelia). Note: Included in Boraginaceae in TJM2 and some other treatments (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group IV 2016 Bot J Linn Soc 181:1--20) but treated as separate family (excluding Namaceae) by Boraginales Working Group (Luebert et al. 2016).
eFlora Treatment Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse, except as specified
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin
Genus: PholistomaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, fleshy. Stem: prostrate or reclined, many-branched, brittle; angles +- glabrous, bristly, or generally with hooked prickles. Leaf: cauline, lower opposite, upper alternate; petioles generally winged, clasping; blade pinnate-lobed, uppermost reduced, short-petioled, generally deltate, 3-lobed, with small, sharp bristles both surfaces. Inflorescence: terminal, axillary, opposite leaves, or flowers 1; pedicels present. Flower: calyx lobes hairy, bristly-ciliate; corolla rotate, lobes +- = tube, generally hairy; stamens included, equal, equally attached; ovary bristly-hairy, chamber appearing 1, style 1, 2-lobed in distal 1/2. Fruit: capsule, spheric, stout-bristly-hairy. Seed: 1--8, spheric, brown, pitted or honeycombed.
Species In Genus: 3 species: California, Arizona, Baja California. Etymology: (Greek: scale mouth)
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse
Unabridged Reference: Constance 1939 Bull Torrey Bot Club 66:341--352
Pholistoma membranaceum (Benth.) Constance
Stem: 5--90 cm, generally glaucous. Leaf: petiole narrow-winged, not clasping; lower leaves 2--13 cm, 1--8 cm wide, blade oblong to ovate, base cordate or truncate, tip obtuse, lobes 5--11, oblong, obtuse, entire or 1-toothed. Inflorescence: flowers generally 2--10 in cymes; pedicel 5--20 mm. Flower: calyx lobes 1--3 mm, oblong, sinus appendages 0; corolla 3--6 mm, < 10 mm wide, white, lobe generally with purple spot; style 1--3 mm. Fruit: 2--4 mm wide, not enclosed in calyx. Seed: 1--2. Chromosomes: n=9.
Ecology: Beaches, bluffs, ravines, wooded slopes, desert washes; Elevation: 40--1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: c&s SNF, Teh, SnJV, CW, SW, D; Distribution Outside California: Baja California. Flowering Time: Feb--May
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Pholistoma auritum var. auritum
Next taxon: Pholistoma racemosum

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Botanical illustration including Pholistoma membranaceum

botanical illustration including Pholistoma membranaceum


Citation for this treatment: Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse 2021, Pholistoma membranaceum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 9,, accessed on June 28, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 28, 2022.

Pholistoma membranaceum
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© 2012 Keir Morse
Pholistoma membranaceum
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© 2016 Barry Breckling
Pholistoma membranaceum
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© 2012 Keir Morse
Pholistoma membranaceum
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Pholistoma membranaceum
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Pholistoma membranaceum
click for enlargement
© 2013 Neal Kramer

More photos of Pholistoma membranaceum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Pholistoma membranaceum:
c&s SNF, Teh, SnJV, CW, SW, D
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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).