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Vascular Plants of California
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Whipplea modesta

Higher Taxonomy
Family: HydrangeaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb to small tree or vine. Stem: < 3 m, generally erect; bark generally peeling as thin sheets or narrow strips. Leaf: generally simple, opposite, deciduous or not, +- hairy; stipules 0; blade +- round to narrowly elliptic, entire or toothed. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flower 1, terminal or axillary, generally bracted. Flower: bisexual, radial, flowers on inflorescence margins occasionally sterile and enlarged; sepals 4--10, free or fused at base, spreading or erect; petals 4--7, free, +- round to narrowly elliptic; stamens 8--12 in 2 whorls or many and clustered, filament base linear or wide and flat; pistil 1, ovary superior to inferior, chambers 2--8, ovules 1--2 or many per chamber, placentas axile or parietal, styles 1--8, free or fused at base. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal or septicidal; styles persistent or not. Seed: generally many, small to minute, oblong to fusiform, winged or not.
Genera In Family: 18 genera, +- 250 species: generally temperate, subtropical northern hemisphere; some cultivated for ornament (Carpenteria, Hydrangea, Philadelphus). Note: Philadelphaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Charles F. Quibell
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: WhippleaView Description 

Common Name: MODESTY

Etymology: (Lieutenant A.W. Whipple, 1818--1863, Commander, Pacific Railroad Expedition of 1853--1854)
Whipplea modesta Torr.
Habit: Perennial herb, subshrub, decumbent. Stem: bark gray-brown, peeling as narrow strips. Leaf: persistent, +- sessile; blade 1.5--4 cm, 1--3 cm wide, ovate to elliptic, coarsely strigose, upper surface hairs ascending, bulbous-based. Inflorescence: cyme or raceme, dense; flowers 4--12. Flower: 4--6 mm wide, odorless; sepals 4--6, 1.5--2 mm, narrowly oblong, +- glabrous; petals 4--6, 3--6 mm, obovate, white; stamens 8--12, +- equal, filament base wide, flat; ovary 1/2-inferior, chambers 4--5, placentas +- axile, ovule 1 per chamber, styles 4--5, stigma terminal. Fruit: spheric, segmented in age. Seed: 1 per chamber, plump, honeycomb-pitted.
Ecology: Coastal scrub, chaparral, forest, open areas or on streambanks; Elevation: 45--1525 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, SnFrB, SCoRO (Santa Lucia Range); Distribution Outside California: to Washington. Flowering Time: Mar--Jul
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Charles F. Quibell
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Whipplea modesta

botanical illustration including Whipplea modesta

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Charles F. Quibell 2012, Whipplea modesta, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 21, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 21, 2024.

Whipplea modesta
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©2012 Gary A. Monroe
Whipplea modesta
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©2004 Steve Matson
Whipplea modesta
click for enlargement
©2004 Steve Matson
Whipplea modesta
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©2004 Steve Matson
Whipplea modesta
click for enlargement
©2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Whipplea modesta
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Whipplea modesta:
NW, SnFrB, SCoRO (Santa Lucia Range)
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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).