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Vascular Plants of California
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Torilis arvensis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to perennial herb [shrub, tree], generally from taproot. Stem: generally +- scapose, generally ribbed, hollow. Leaf: basal and generally cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, occasionally compound. Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present in involucres or 0; bractlets generally present in "involucels". Flower: many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally +- ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a +- conic, persistent projection or platform at tip subtending 2 free styles. Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves (= mericarps), separating from each other but generally +- persistent to central axis; ribs on halves 5, 2 marginal, 3 to back; oil tubes 1--several per interval between ribs.
Genera In Family: 300 genera, 3000 species: +- worldwide, especially temperate; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); Bupleurum lancifolium Hornem. is historical garden weed; some toxic (e.g., Conium). Note: Mature fruit generally critical in identification, shape given in outline. Hydrocotyle moved to Araliaceae, Orogenia moved to Lomatium, Sphenosciadium moved to Angelica. Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill is a waif.
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: TorilisView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, taprooted, hairy or bristly. Stem: spreading or erect, branched. Leaf: blade lanceolate to triangular, 1-pinnately dissected. Inflorescence: umbels compound, terminal or opposite leaves, peduncled or sessile; bracts generally 0 or small; bractlets several, thread-like to linear; rays 0--few, spreading-ascending; pedicels 0 or short. Flower: generally +- bilateral; calyx lobes 0 or evident; petals obcordate, white or +- red, tips narrowed, outer petals +- > others; styles short. Fruit: oblong to ovate, +- compressed side-to-side; 1° ribs thread-like, prickly, 2° ribs densely prickly or tubercled; oil tubes 1 per rib interval; fruit axis divided in distal 1/2. Seed: face grooved.
Species In Genus: 10--15 species: Eurasia. Etymology: (Name used by Adanson in 1763, meaning obscure)
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
Torilis arvensis (Huds.) Link
Habit: Plant 3--10 dm, slender. Leaf: petiole 2--8 cm; blade 5--12 cm, +- ovate, 2--3-pinnate, leaflets 5--60 mm, lanceolate to ovate, regularly pinnately cut; distal cauline leaves generally 1-pinnate. Inflorescence: peduncle 2--12 cm; bracts 0--2; bractlets several, 2--4 mm, linear; rays 2--10, +- equal; pedicels 1--4 mm. Fruit: 3--5 mm, oblong-ovate; prickles spreading, length generally = fruit width. Chromosomes: 2n=12.
Ecology: Disturbed places; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (esp NW, n SNF, CW); Distribution Outside California: widely introduced, native to central and southern Europe. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Synonyms: Torilis arvensis (Huds.) Link subsp. purpurea (Ten.) Hayek
Jepson eFlora Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Botanical illustration including Torilis arvensis

botanical illustration including Torilis arvensis


Citation for this treatment: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax 2012, Torilis arvensis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 25, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 25, 2021.

Torilis arvensis
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Torilis arvensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Neal Kramer
Torilis arvensis
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Torilis arvensis
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Torilis arvensis
click for enlargement
© 2018 Neal Kramer
Torilis arvensis
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse

More photos of Torilis arvensis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Torilis arvensis:
CA-FP (esp NW, n SNF, CW)
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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).