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Vascular Plants of California
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Alyssum simplex

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: AlyssumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual [perennial herb]; hairs stellate, occasionally also simple. Stem: 1--several. Leaf: entire. Flower: sepals erect to spreading, bases not sac-like; petals yellow to cream, occasionally white in age; filaments slender or winged, toothed or not. Fruit: silicle, round (oblong), dehiscent, unsegmented, flat parallel to septum, glabrous or hairy; stigma entire. Seed: 1--2(4)[8].
Species In Genus: +- 170 species: northern North America, Eurasia, northern Africa. Etymology: (Greek: without rabies, supposed cure for hydrophobia and madness) Note: Alyssum strigosum Banks & Sol. reports in California based on misidentified plants of Alyssum simplex.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Alyssum simplex Rudolphi
Habit: Hairs stellate, coarse, appressed or not. Stem: erect (decumbent), (0.3)0.7--3(4) dm. Flower: sepals early-deciduous; petals 2--3.5 mm, light yellow; filaments winged, toothed. Fruit: (3.5)4--6.5(7) mm, round; hairs coarsely stellate, rays spreading; style 0.7--1.6 mm, hairy; pedicel spreading, 2--5(6) mm. Seed: 1.6--2 mm, ovate, margined or not. Chromosomes: 2n=16.
Ecology: Roadsides, foothills, open rangeland; Elevation: 1000--1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRI, SCoRI, MP; Distribution Outside California: to Montana, Wyoming, northern Mexico; native to Europe, central and southwestern Asia, northern Africa. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Synonyms: Alyssum minus (L.) Rothm. var. micranthum (C.A. Mey.) T.R. Dudley; Alyssum minus subsp. micranthum (C.A. Mey.) Breistr.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Alyssum simplex, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 25, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 25, 2020.

Alyssum simplex
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson
Alyssum simplex
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson
Alyssum simplex
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson
Alyssum simplex
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson
Alyssum simplex
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson

More photos of Alyssum simplex in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Alyssum simplex:
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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.
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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).