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Vascular Plants of California
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Trianthema portulacastrum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AizoaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, generally fleshy. Stem: underground to erect; root fibrous or tuberous. Leaf: generally simple, entire, flat, cylindric, 3-angled, or scale-like, generally cauline, generally opposite; stipules generally 0; blade papillate, pubescent, or generally glabrous, often glaucous. Inflorescence: cyme or 1-flowered, generally terminal. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium present; sepals (3)5(8), often unequal; petals 0 or many in several whorls, free or fused at base, linear; stamens 1--many, free or fused in groups, outer often petal-like; nectary a ring or separate glands; pistil 1, ovary superior to inferior, chambers 1--20, placentas generally parietal, styles 0--20. Fruit: berry, nut, or generally capsule, opening by flaps or circumscissile. Seed: 1--many per chamber, generally ovoid, arilled or not.
Genera In Family: 130 genera, 2500 species: generally subtropics, especially southern Africa; many cultivated. Note: Galenia pubescens (Eckl. & Zeyh.) Druce, a waif, may be naturalizing in southern California.
Unabridged Note: Disphyma crassifolium (L.) L. Bolus (ovary glands convex, minute-crenate; stigmas dense-plumose; fruit chambers 5; seeds ovate, +- smooth), of tribe Ruschieae, an historical waif in California; Lampranthus coccineus (Haw.) N.E. Br.: (ovary glands fused; fruit chambers 5; seeds pear-shaped, +- black, rough), of Ruschieae, an historical waif or urban weed in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Nancy J. Vivrette, John Bleck & Wayne R. Ferren, Jr., family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: TrianthemaView Description 

Habit: Annual [perennial herb, shrub], branched from base, glabrous, hairy, or papillate, +- fleshy. Stem: generally prostrate. Leaf: +- opposite, 2 of pair unequal; stipules papery; blade linear to round, base tapered, margin entire. Inflorescence: generally 1-flowered; bracts 2. Flower: sepals 5, with abaxial mucro just below tip; petals 0; stamens 5--10[20]; ovary superior, chambers 1--2, ovules 1--few, placentas basal, styles 1--2. Fruit: capsule, papery or leathery, circumscissile; lid winged. Seed: reniform, rough, arilled.
Species In Genus: 20 species: tropics, subtropics, especially Australia. Etymology: (Greek: 3-flowered)
eFlora Treatment Author: Wayne R. Ferren, Jr.
Trianthema portulacastrum L.
Stem: < 10 dm, in youth with lines of hairs below petioles. Leaf: stipules widened, occasionally +- toothed at base; blade < 4 cm, smaller on twigs, generally = petiole, elliptic to +- round, base tapered, tip often notched. Inflorescence: flower sessile, +- covered by stipule. Flower: sepals 3--5, +- 2.5 mm, lanceolate, +- purple adaxially; ovary chamber 1, stigmas 2. Fruit: 4--5 mm, cylindric, +- curved; wings of lid 2, prominent, erect. Seed: 1.5--2 mm, ridged, red-brown to black.
Ecology: Uncommon. Moist or seasonally dry wetlands, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnJV, D; Distribution Outside California: to Texas, eastern North America, South America; tropics Old World. Flowering Time: Jun--Nov
Synonyms: Sesuvium portulacastrum (L.) L.
Jepson eFlora Author: Wayne R. Ferren, Jr.
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Trianthema portulacastrum

botanical illustration including Trianthema portulacastrum


Citation for this treatment: Wayne R. Ferren, Jr. 2012, Trianthema portulacastrum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=46920, accessed on April 10, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 10, 2020.

Trianthema portulacastrum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Trianthema portulacastrum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Trianthema portulacastrum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Trianthema portulacastrum
click for enlargement
© 2005 James M. Andre
Trianthema portulacastrum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Trianthema portulacastrum
click for enlargement
© 2004 James M. Andre

More photos of Trianthema portulacastrum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Trianthema portulacastrum:
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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).