Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Higher Taxonomy
Family: RhamnaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: [Perennial herb] shrub, tree, generally erect, often thorny. Leaf: simple, generally alternate, often clustered on short-shoots; stipules generally present, occasionally modified into spines; generally petioled; blade pinnate-veined or 1--5-ribbed from base. Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, umbel, or flowers 1 or clustered in axils or on short-shoots. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium subtending, surrounding, or partly fused to ovary; sepals 4--5; petals 0, 4--5, generally clawed; stamens 0, 4--5, alternate sepals, attached to hypanthium top, each generally fitting into a petal concavity; disk (0 or) between stamens, ovary, thin to fleshy, entire or lobed, free from ovary, adherent or fused to hypanthium; ovary superior or +- inferior, chambers [1]2--4, 1--2-ovuled, style 1, stigma entire or 2--3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, drupe.
Genera In Family: 50--52 genera, 950 species: especially tropics, subtropics some cultivated (Ceanothus; Frangula; Rhamnus; Ziziphus).
eFlora Treatment Author: John O. Sawyer, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: Steve Boyd, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Habit: Shrub. Stem: branches dense, alternate, rigid, +- white; twigs spreading, not jointed at base, thorn-tipped [or not], generally hairy. Leaf: clustered on short-shoots or not, deciduous [or not]; stipules deciduous; blade entire, 3--5-ribbed from base, generally with round, marginal glands. Inflorescence: umbel-like, few-flowered. Flower: hypanthium hemispheric, adhering to developing fruit; sepals 5; petals 5, = sepals, oblanceolate; stamens 5; disk fleshy, adhering to, +- filling hypanthium; ovary chambers 3, 1-ovuled, stigma 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, shallow-3-valved, explosively dehiscent (drupe-like, indehiscent).
Species In Genus: 31 species: warm places worldwide. Etymology: (Latin: from French for serpent tree)
Jepson eFlora Author: John O. Sawyer, Jr.
Reference: Bastos 1990 Pesquisas Botanica 41:99--122
Unabridged Reference: Johnston 1971 Brittonia 23:2--53
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: John O. Sawyer, Jr. 2012, Colubrina, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 29, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on November 29, 2022.