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Vascular Plants of California
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Pycnanthemum californicum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: MINT FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub [tree, vine], glabrous to hairy, generally aromatic. Stem: generally erect, generally 4-angled. Leaf: generally simple to deeply lobed, generally opposite, generally gland-dotted. Inflorescence: generally cymes, generally many in dense axillary clusters surrounding stem, generally separated by evident internodes or collectively crowded, spike- or panicle-like, occasionally head-like or raceme, subtended by leaves or bracts; flowers sessile or pedicelled. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx generally 5-lobed, radial to bilateral; corolla generally bilateral, 1--2-lipped, upper lip entire or 2-lobed, +- flat to hood-like, occasionally 0, lower lip generally 3-lobed; stamens generally 4, epipetalous, generally exserted, paired, pairs generally unequal, occasionally 2, staminodes 2 or 0; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed to base chambers 2, ovules 2 per chamber, style 1, generally arising from center at junction of lobes, stigmas generally 2. Fruit: generally 4 nutlets, generally ovoid to oblong, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 230 genera, 7200 species: worldwide. Many cultivated for herbs, oils (Lavandula, lavender; Mentha, mint; Rosmarinus, rosemary; Thymus, thyme), some cultivated as ornamental (in California Cedronella, Leonotis, Monarda, Phlomis). Note: Moluccella laevis L., shell flower, historical waif in California. Satureja calamintha (L.) Scheele subsp. ascendens (Jordan) Briq. reported as alien but not naturalized. Salazaria moved to Scutellaria; California Hyptis moved to Condea, California Satureja moved to Clinopodium.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken & Margriet Wetherwax, family description, key to genera, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: PycnanthemumView Description 

Habit: Perennial herb, rhizomatous, glabrous to hairy. Stem: erect, simple or branched above middle. Leaf: petioled to +- sessile. Inflorescence: head-like, axillary at distal nodes and terminal, subtended by leaves or bracts; flowers +- sessile. Flower: calyx 5-lobed, lobes +- equal, deltate, acute to awned; corolla 2-lipped, upper lip generally 2-lobed, +- flat, lower lip 3-lobed, lobes +- equal; stamens 4. Fruit: smooth to rough; glabrous to hairy.
Species In Genus: 19 species: North America. Etymology: (Greek: densely flowered)
eFlora Treatment Author: Henrietta L. Chambers & Dieter H. Wilken
Pycnanthemum californicum Torr. ex Durand
Habit: Plant 5--13 dm. Stem: glabrous to tomentose. Leaf: > internodes, +- overlapping; blade 2.5--7.5 cm, generally ovate to widely lanceolate, entire to finely toothed, generally tomentose, base +- rounded, tip generally acute; petiole < 3 mm. Inflorescence: 2--5, head-like; proximal subtended by +- elliptic leaves, distal subtended by lance-linear bracts. Flower: calyx 4--5.5 mm, puberulent, lobes densely short-hairy; corolla 5--6.5 mm, white, upper lip 2.5--3 mm, lower lip +- 2--3 mm, purple- or violet-spotted. Chromosomes: 2n=40.
Ecology: Moist sites, chaparral, oak woodland, conifer forest; Elevation: 500--1900 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, n NCoR, CaR, SN, n ScV, TR, PR, MP. Flowering Time: Jun--Sep
Jepson eFlora Author: Henrietta L. Chambers & Dieter H. Wilken
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Pycnanthemum californicum

botanical illustration including Pycnanthemum californicum


Citation for this treatment: Henrietta L. Chambers & Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Pycnanthemum californicum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 28, 2022.

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

Pycnanthemum californicum
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Pycnanthemum californicum
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Pycnanthemum californicum
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© 2019 Barry Breckling
Pycnanthemum californicum
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© 2009 Neal Kramer

More photos of Pycnanthemum californicum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Pycnanthemum californicum:
KR, n NCoR, CaR, SN, n ScV, TR, PR, MP.
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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).