Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Carsonia sparsifolia

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CleomaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, often ill-smelling. Leaf: generally 1-palmate, generally alternate, generally petioled; stipules generally minute, often bristle-like or hairy; leaflets 0 or 3--7. Inflorescence: raceme, head, or flowers 1, expanded in fruit; bracts generally 3-parted below, simple above, or 0. Flower: generally bisexual, radial to +- bilateral; sepals generally 4, free or fused, generally persistent; petals generally 4, free, +- clawed; stamens generally 6, free, exserted, anthers generally coiling at dehiscence; ovary superior, generally on stalk-like receptacle, chamber generally 1, placentas generally 2, parietal, style 1, persistent, stigma generally minute, +- head-like. Fruit: 2 nutlets or generally capsule, septicidal; valves generally 2, deciduous, leaving septum (frame-like placentas) behind; pedicel generally +- reflexed to spreading.
Genera In Family: 17 genera, +- 150 species: widespread tropics to arid temperate. Note: Treated as Capparaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CarsoniaView Description 

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Named for Carson Desert, Nevada)
Carsonia sparsifolia (S. Watson) Greene
Habit: Perennial herb 1--9 dm, densely branched, glabrous, glaucous. Leaf: +- sparse; leaflets 3 below, 1 (leaves simple) above, 0.4--1.5 cm, obovate. Inflorescence: raceme, open, few-flowered, 2--10 cm, not much expanded in fruit. Flower: sepals free, deciduous, 1.4--3 mm, ovate, acuminate, minutely serrate, brown-green; petals 9--13 mm, strap-shaped, recurved, yellow with brown central streak; stamens 9--15 mm, yellow, anthers 3--6 mm, brown; style 0.1--0.4 mm. Fruit: 15--45 mm, 1--3 mm wide, smooth; receptacle 2--5 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=32.
Ecology: Sand dunes, sandy areas on alkali lake margins; Elevation: 850--2030 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNE, DMoj (Eureka Valley); Distribution Outside California: western Nevada. Flowering Time: May--Aug
Synonyms: Cleome sparsifolia S. Watson
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Carsonia
Next taxon: Cleomella

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Botanical illustration including Carsonia sparsifolia

botanical illustration including Carsonia sparsifolia


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2012, Carsonia sparsifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=91891, accessed on February 22, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2020.

Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Carsonia sparsifolia
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© 2009 Aaron Schusteff
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2011 California Academy of Sciences
Carsonia sparsifolia
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson

More photos of Carsonia sparsifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Carsonia sparsifolia:
SNE, DMoj (Eureka Valley)
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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).


View elevation by latitude chart

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).