Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Tetracoccus dioicus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PicrodendraceaeView Description 
Habit: Shrub [tree]; dioecious [monoecious]. Stem: generally branched. Leaf: simple [palmate-compound], alternate, opposite, or whorled in 3s; entire or toothed; stipules 0 [present]. Inflorescence: generally axillary [subterminal, terminal]. Staminate Flower: +- radial; sepals [3]4--10[12], free [fused], overlapped; petals 0; nectary disk present [0]; stamens [2]5--10[55], filaments free [fused]. Pistillate Flower: +- radial; sepals [3]4--13, free; petals 0; nectary disk present [0]; ovary superior, compound, placentas axile, ovules generally 2 per chamber, styles free [fused]. Fruit: capsule. Seed: 1--2 per chamber, scar generally appendaged [not].
Genera In Family: 24 genera, 80 species: tropics, especially southern hemisphere. Note: Incl in (non-monophyletic) Euphorbiaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce G. Baldwin, family description
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: TetracoccusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Plant generally 0.5--2 m; sap clear. Stem: axis erect; branches generally many, spreading to erect; twigs generally +- red, turning gray, generally hairy, glabrous in age; young lateral twigs short, sometimes becoming spine-like. Leaf: cauline, generally clustered at short, lateral branch tips; petiole < 2 mm; blade leathery, base obtuse to acute. Staminate Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, or panicle, occasionally clustered on short, lateral twigs, minute-bracted. Pistillate Inflorescence: flower 1. Staminate Flower: sepals 0.5--2 mm; filaments glabrous or hairy; nectary disk +- minute-lobed. Pistillate Flower: sepals 2--5 mm; nectary disk minute-lobed; ovary (2)3--5-chambered, style = chamber in number, free, +- flat, generally spreading. Fruit: +- spheric, generally lobed, glabrous or short-hairy, generally brown. Seed: smooth, shiny.
Species In Genus: 5 species: California, Arizona, Mexico. Etymology: (Latin: 4 seeds, from 4-lobed ovary in Tetracoccus dioicus)
eFlora Treatment Author: Grady L. Webster
Reference: Dressler 1954 Rhodora 56:45--61
Tetracoccus dioicus Parry
Stem: twigs sparsely fine-tomentose near axils, glabrous in age. Leaf: generally opposite or 3-whorled; blade 10--30 mm, linear to narrow-oblanceolate, entire or sparsely fine-toothed, margin sometimes inrolled, tip rounded to acute. Staminate Inflorescence: generally raceme; pedicel 3--10 mm. Pistillate Inflorescence: pedicel 6--15 mm. Staminate Flower: sepals 6--10, ovate to lanceolate; stamens 5--10, filaments 2.5--4 mm, base soft-hairy. Pistillate Flower: sepals 7--13, 3--5 mm, wide-lanceolate to ovate; ovary 4-lobed, fine-tomentose, chambers 4(5), styles 3--3.5 mm. Fruit: +- 6 mm, 7--9 mm wide, sparsely fine-tomentose.
Ecology: Dry slopes, chaparral; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SCo (San Diego Co.), w PR; Distribution Outside California: Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--May
Jepson eFlora Author: Grady L. Webster
Reference: Dressler 1954 Rhodora 56:45--61
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 Tetracoccus dioicus

botanical illustration including Tetracoccus dioicus


Citation for this treatment: Grady L. Webster 2012, Tetracoccus dioicus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 31, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 31, 2021.

Tetracoccus dioicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Tetracoccus dioicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Tetracoccus dioicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Tetracoccus dioicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Tetracoccus dioicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Tetracoccus dioicus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse

More photos of Tetracoccus dioicus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Tetracoccus dioicus:
s SCo (San Diego Co.), w PR
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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).


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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).