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Vascular Plants of California
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Smelowskia ovalis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub; sap pungent, watery. Leaf: generally simple, alternate; generally both basal, cauline; stipules 0. Inflorescence: generally raceme, generally not bracted. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals 4, generally free; petals (0)4, forming a cross, generally white or yellow to purple; stamens generally 6 (2 or 4), 4 long, 2 short (3 pairs of unequal length); ovary 1, superior, generally 2-chambered with septum connecting 2 parietal placentas; style 1, stigma entire or 2-lobed. Fruit: capsule, generally 2-valved, "silique" (length >= 3 × width) or "silicle" (length < 3 × width), dehiscent by 2 valves or indehiscent, cylindric or flat parallel or perpendicular to septum, segmented or not. Seed: 1--many, in 1 or 2 rows per chamber, winged or wingless; embryo strongly curved.
Genera In Family: +- 330 genera, 3780 species: worldwide, especially temperate. Note: Highest diversity in Mediterranean area, mountains of southwestern Asia, adjacent central Asia, western North America; some Brassica species are oil or vegetable crops; Arabidopsis thaliana used in experimental molecular biology; many species are ornamentals, weeds. Aurinia saxatilis (L.) Desvaux in cultivation only. Aubrieta occasional waif in central NCoR, Carrichtera annua (L.) DC. in SCo, Iberis sempervirens L., Iberis umbellata L. in PR, Teesdalia coronopifolia (Bergeret) Thell., Teesdalia nudicaulis (L.) W.T. Aiton in southern NCoRO, CCo. Cardaria, Coronopus moved to Lepidium; Caulostramina to Hesperidanthus; Guillenia to Caulanthus; Heterodraba to Athysanus; California taxa of Lesquerella to Physaria; Malcolmia africana to Strigosella.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: SmelowskiaView Description 

Habit: [Annual] perennial herb; generally cespitose, caudex branched; hairs many-branched, tree-like, occasionally mixed with simple and stalked-forked hairs. Leaf: basal rosetted, 1- or 2-pinnately lobed or divided (entire); cauline petioled or sessile, base not lobed. Inflorescence: elongated or not; bracts 0 (present). Flower: sepal ascending to spreading, base not sac-like; petals spoon-shaped to obovate, white to pink or purple (yellow). Fruit: dehiscent, cylindric to 4-angled or flat parallel or perpendicular to septum, unsegmented; stigma entire or +- 2-lobed. Seed: 4--30, in 1 row, wingless.
Etymology: (T. Smielowsky, Russian botanist, 1769--1815)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Reference: Al-Shehbaz & Warwick 2006 Harvard Pap Bot 11:91--99
Smelowskia ovalis M.E. Jones
Habit: Plant deep-rooted; caudex several-branched. Stem: several to many from caudex, 0.3--1.8 dm, simple or branched distally, densely hairy, hairs simple, mixed with smaller, many-branched ones. Leaf: basal 0.5--2.5 cm, pinnately divided, obovate to ovate or oblong in outline; ultimate segments 2--10 mm, obovate or oblong; cauline short-petioled to sessile, reduced distally on stem. Flower: sepals 2--2.5 mm, persistent; petals 3.5--4.5 mm, 1.5--2.5 mm wide, white or pink. Fruit: 2--6 mm, 2--3 mm wide, ovoid to +- oblong, cylindric, +- appressed, glabrous; style 0.2--1 mm; pedicel erect to ascending, 3--10 mm. Seed: 4--8, oblong, 1--1.5 mm.
Ecology: Loose talus, mica schist, moraines, rock crevices; Elevation: 1500--3350 m. Bioregional Distribution: CaRH (Lassen Peak); Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug
Synonyms: Smelowskia ovalis var. congesta Rollins
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Reference: Al-Shehbaz & Warwick 2006 Harvard Pap Bot 11:91--99
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Botanical illustration including Smelowskia ovalis

botanical illustration including Smelowskia ovalis

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Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Smelowskia ovalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 24, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 24, 2024.

Smelowskia ovalis
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©2009 George W. Hartwell
Smelowskia ovalis
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©2019 Steve Matson
Smelowskia ovalis
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©2008 George W. Hartwell
Smelowskia ovalis
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©2008 George W. Hartwell
Smelowskia ovalis
click for enlargement
©2009 George W. Hartwell

More photos of Smelowskia ovalis
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Smelowskia ovalis:
CaRH (Lassen Peak)
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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.
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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).