Jepson eFlora: Key page
Vascular Plants of California
Key to families | Table of families and genera

Key to Chenopodium

View taxon page for Chenopodium

(For a list of species in Chenopodium, use the above link.)

Jepson Manual glossary definitions can be seen by moving your cursor over words underlined with dots.

1. Perennial herb from stoutfleshy calyx tube generally >  ..... C. californicum

1' Annual; calyx tube generally < lobes

2. Seeds all vertical or both horizontal and vertical; calyx lobes generally 3(4) in flowers with vertical fruit, 4–5 in flowers with horizontal fruit

3. Leaf  white-powdery abaxially, margins acutely-toothed ..... C. glaucum var. salinum

3' Leaf blade glabrous abaxially at least in age, margins  to variously toothed

4. Leaf blade thick to fleshy, margin generally , abaxially ± densely powdery and becoming glabrous ..... C. macrospermum

4' Leaf blade thin, margin entire or toothed, generally glabrous

5. Flower clusters 3–10 mm diam, in unbranched terminal and/or  spikessepals generally red, fleshy in fruit; all seeds vertical

6. Flower clusters subtended by leafy bracts throughout inflorescencestamens generally 1; fruit maturing from base to tip of plant ..... C. foliosum

6' Flower clusters subtended by leafy bracts only in proximal 1/2 of inflorescence; stamens 3; fruit maturing from tip to base of plant ..... C. capitatum

7. Flower clusters 6–10 mm diam; fruit red, fleshy;  blade base  to  (hastate), margin generally sharply toothed ..... var. capitatum

7' Flower clusters 3–5 mm diam; fruit green to red, not fleshy; leaf blade base  to truncate, margin entire or ± toothed ..... var. parvicapitatum

5' Flower clusters 2–4 mm diam, in axillary branched spikes; sepals green, membranous; seeds generally vertical, occasionally horizontal

8. Calyx tube > lobes; stamen 1 ..... C. chenopodioides

8' Calyx tube < lobes; stamens 2–3 ..... C. rubrum

9. Stem  to ; leaf margin entire or shallowly toothed ..... var. humile

9' Stem  to ; leaf margin deeply toothed ..... var. rubrum

2' Most or all seeds horizontal; calyx lobes generally 5

10. Flowers 1 or in , arranged in axillary and terminal  or branched spikes; leaf blade glabrous to ± powdery abaxially ..... C. simplex

10' Flower clusters in terminal and/or axillary spikes and/or panicles; leaf blade generally powdery

11. Primary leaves not fleshy, generally 2-lobed, generally toothed on margin

12. Fruit wall pitted at 20×

13. Plant scented; proximal leaf blades entire to 2-lobed or toothed near base, densely powdery; fruit wall, seed coat ± white ..... C. watsonii

13' Plant generally not scented; all leaf blades entire, or 2-lobed near base and serrate or irregularly toothed, powdery; fruit wall brown, seed coat black ..... C. berlandieri

14. Style base not yellow in fruit; seed 1–1.3 mm diam ..... var. sinuatum

14' Style base yellow in fruit; seed 1.2–1.5 mm diam ..... var. zschackei

12' Fruit wall not pitted at 20×

15. Leaf powdery in youth, especially abaxially, or generally glabrous; fruit wall scale-like at 20×; seed margin sharply angled ..... C. murale

15' Leaf powdery; fruit wall smooth or  at 20×; seed margin rounded or ridged

16. Leaf blade sides ± parallel from near base, generally not lobed, generally finely serrate; fruit wall smooth, generally attached to seed in age ..... C. strictum var. glaucophyllum

16' Leaf blade sides not parallel, generally lobed or toothed; fruit wall papillate or smooth, generally free from seed in age

17. Plant to 1 m; inflorescence branches straight; flower clusters generally in axillary and terminal branched spikes ..... C. album

17' Plant to 2 m; inflorescence branches ± curved or pendent; flower clusters in axillary and terminal spikes or panicles ..... C. missouriense

11' Primary leaves ± fleshy, entire or 1–2 pairs of lobes or teeth near base

18. Leaf blade 1-veined from base, entire

19. Leaf blade 4–6 mm wide, generally  to narrowly  (elliptic), powdery abaxially, tip generally ; inflorescence dense ..... C. desiccatum (2)

19' Leaf blade generally < 3.5 mm wide, linear, densely powdery abaxially, tip ± round; inflorescence open ..... C. leptophyllum

18' Leaf blade 3-veined from base, entire or 1–2 pairs of lobes or teeth near base

20. Leaf blade length 3–many × width

21. Fruit wall attached to seed ..... C. hians

21' Fruit wall free from seed

22. Plant erect to spreading; leaf blade length 3–many × width, entire; calyx lobes generally enclosing fruit in age; seed coat warty ..... C. desiccatum (2)

22' Plant generally erect; leaf blade length 3–5 × width, entire or generally 1–2 lobes near base; calyx lobes ± spreading in age; seed coat wrinkled ..... C. pratericola

20' Leaf blade length to 3 × width

23. Leaf blade length 2–3 × width, , lanceolate, or 

24. Plant erect, branched; leaf base generally rounded to tapered, tip generally  to round,  generally strongly upcurved; fruit wall smooth ..... C. atrovirens

24' Plant prostrate to ascending, branched from base; leaf tip  to round, petiole not upcurved; fruit wall papillate ..... C. littoreum

23' Leaf blade length generally < 2 × width, ± diamond-shaped to , or elliptic

25. Fruit wall attached to seed

26. Plant not ill-smelling, spheric in fruit, many-branched distally, branches  in pairs; leaves entire or generally 2-lobed, occasionally toothed; seed < 0.8 mm ..... C. nevadense

26' Plant ill-smelling, not spheric in fruit, few-branched from base, branches not forked in pairs; leaves entire; seed > 0.9 mm ..... C. vulvaria

25' Fruit wall free from seed

27. Inflorescence clusters in spikes; leaves ± powdery abaxially; lobes near leaf base spreading; fruit visible between calyx lobes in age; seed margin thick, square in ×-section ..... C. fremontii

27' Inflorescence clusters in panicles; leaves moderately to densely powdery abaxially; lobes near leaf base occasionally spreading; fruit hidden by calyx lobes in age; seed margin obtuse in ×-section ..... C. incanum var. occidentale


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