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Vascular Plants of California
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Higher Taxonomy
Family: HydrophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, generally hairy, generally taprooted. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: simple to pinnately compound, basal or cauline, alternate or opposite; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cyme, generally raceme-like and coiled, or flowers 1. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; calyx lobes generally 5, generally fused at base, generally persistent, enlarging in fruit; corolla rotate to cylindric, generally deciduous, lobes generally 5, appendages in pairs on tube between filaments or 0; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, filament base sometimes appendaged, appendages scale-like; ovary generally superior, chambers 1 or 2, placentas 2, parietal, enlarged into chamber, sometimes meeting so ovary appears 2--5-chambered, style 1, style branches 2, stigmas generally head-like. Fruit: capsule, generally loculicidal; valves generally 2.
Genera In Family: 12 genera, 240--260 species: especially western US; some cultivated (Emmenanthe, Nemophila, Phacelia). Note: Included in Boraginaceae in TJM2 and some other treatments (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group IV 2016 Bot J Linn Soc 181:1--20) but treated as separate family (excluding Namaceae) by Boraginales Working Group (Luebert et al. 2016).
eFlora Treatment Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse, except as specified
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin
Habit: [Biennial or] perennial herb from rhizomes [taproots]; roots fleshy-fibrous and fibrous [or tuber-like]. Stem: suberect to erect, simple or branched, fleshy, or 0 and leaves from rhizomes. Leaf: simple, pinnate-[palmate-]lobed, or compound, basal or cauline, alternate, mottled-white in shade, short- to long-hairy or glabrous in age, glandular or not; blades oblong to ovate, rhombic, or round-cordate; petiole widened, proximally purple, bases clasping. Inflorescence: axillary from rhizome or above-ground stem; born +- at or well above soil surface, cymes paniculate or spheric; pedicels generally elongate in fruit. Flower: calyx lobes +- equal, alike in shape, enlarged in fruit, linear to narrowly oblong, narrowly ovate or triangular-lanceolate; corolla rotate or bell-shaped to funnel-shaped, white, cream, +- green, purple, or blue-purple; corolla scales linear, forming channeled pollinator guide; nectary glands present; stamens exserted, equal, attached at same level, filaments hairy at mid-level, not widened at base, not appendaged, not winged; ovary chamber appearing 1, style 1, exserted, glabrous, shallowly 2-lobed. Fruit: 3--5 mm, sub-spheric, cylindric, exceeded and loosely enclosed by calyx lobes, short- to long-hairy or occasionally becoming glabrous in age, glandular or not. Seed: 1--4, sub-spheric, cylindric, brown or yellow- or red-brown, irregularly net-veined, regularly pitted, attached fleshy structure 0.
Species In Genus: 11 species: North America; some cultivated as ornamentals. Etymology: Greek: water leaf Note: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum raised to species rank, as Hydrophyllum alpestre. Hydrophyllum dimorphic in leaf shape and color depending on whether canopy is closed or open: cotyledons and first few leaves green under open canopy; these replaced by basal rosette of mottled-white leaves under closed canopy, some leaves of which may persist to bolting stage. Leaves without mottling occur at all growth stages under open canopy.
Jepson eFlora Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse
Reference: Constance 1942 Amer Midl Naturalist 27:710--731
Unabridged Reference: Beckmann 1979 Amer J Bot 66:1053--1061
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Key to Hydrophyllum

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Citation for this treatment: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse 2021, Hydrophyllum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 9,, accessed on April 17, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 17, 2024.