ANF Keys

Note: This electronic key is incomplete because the ANF keys are themselves a work in progress


Adoxaceae   Agavaceae   Aizoaceae   Alismataceae   Alliaceae   Amaranthaceae   Anacardiaceae   Apiaceae   Apocynaceae   Araceae   Araliaceae   Arecaceae   Asparagaceae   Asphodelaceae   Asteraceae   Bataceae   Berberidaceae   Betulaceae   Boraginaceae   Brassicaceae   Bromeliaceae   Cactaceae   Campanulaceae   Caprifoliaceae   Caryophyllaceae   Ceratophyllaceae   Chenopodiaceae   Cistaceae   Cleomaceae   Convolvulaceae   Cornaceae   Crassulaceae   Cucurbitaceae   Cupressaceae   Cyperaceae   Datiscaceae   Dipsacaceae   Equisetaceae   Ericaceae   Euphorbiaceae   Fabaceae   Fagaceae   Frankeniaceae   Garryaceae   Gentianaceae   Geraniaceae   Grossulariaceae   Hydrocharitaceae   Hypericaceae   Iridaceae   Juglandaceae   Juncaceae   Juncaginaceae   Lamiaceae   Lauraceae   Liliaceae   Linaceae   Loasaceae   Lythraceae   Malvaceae   Melanthiaceae   Montiaceae   Moraceae   Myricaceae   Myrsinaceae   Myrtaceae   Nyctaginaceae   Nymphaeaceae   Oleaceae   Onagraceae   Orchidaceae   Orobanchaceae   Oxalidaceae   Paeoniaceae   Papaveraceae   Passifloraceae   Phrymaceae   Pinaceae   Pittosporaceae   Plantaginaceae   Platanaceae   Plumbaginaceae   Poaceae   Polemoniaceae   Polygalaceae   Polygonaceae   Portulacaceae   Potamogetonaceae   Primulaceae   Pteridaceae   Ranunculaceae   Resedaceae   Rhamnaceae   Rosaceae   Rubiaceae   Ruppiaceae   Ruscaceae   Rutaceae   Salicaceae   Santalaceae   Sapindaceae   Saururaceae   Saxifragaceae   Scrophulariaceae   Simaroubaceae   Solanaceae   Tamaricaceae   Themidaceae   Theophrastaceae   Tropaeolaceae   Typhaceae   Urticaceae   Valerianaceae   Verbenaceae   Violaceae   Vitaceae   Zannichelliaceae   Zygophyllaceae  

Abronia   Acacia   Acer   Acmispon   Adenostoma   Adiantum   Agoseris   Agrostis   Ailanthus   Allium   Alnus   Amaranthus   Ambrosia   Amsinckia   Anagallis   Anemopsis   Aptenia   Arctostaphylos   Aristida   Artemisia   Asclepias   Asparagus   Asphodelus   Astragalus   Atriplex   Avena   Baccharis   Batis   Berberis   Bidens   Boykinia   Brassica   Brickellia   Bromus   Cakile   Calandrinia   Calochortus   Calodendrum   Calystegia   Camissoniopsis   Cardamine   Carex   Carpobrotus   Castilleja   Caulanthus   Ceanothus   Centaurea   Ceratophyllum   Chaenactis   Cheilanthes   Chenopodium   Chorizanthe   Cirsium   Clarkia   Claytonia   Clematis   Collinsia   Convolvulus   Cornus   Cotula   Croton   Crypsis   Cryptantha   Cucurbita   Cuscuta   Cylindropuntia   Cyperus   Datisca   Datura   Daucus   Deinandra   Delphinium   Descurainia   Digitaria   Dimorphotheca   Dipsacus   Distichlis   Dodecatheon   Dudleya   Dysphania   Eleocharis   Elymus   Encelia   Epilobium   Equisetum   Eragrostis   Eriastrum   Ericameria   Erigeron   Eriogonum   Eriophyllum   Erodium   Erysimum   Eschscholzia   Eucalyptus   Euphorbia   Festuca   Ficus   Frankenia   Fraxinus   Galium   Garrya   Geranium   Gilia   Helianthus   Hesperocyparis   Heterotheca   Hordeum   Hydrocotyle   Hypericum   Hypochaeris   Isocoma   Juglans   Juncus   Lasthenia   Lathyrus   Lemna   Lepidium   Leptochloa   Leptosiphon   Leptosyne   Limonium   Linanthus   Linum   Lithophragma   Logfia   Lomatium   Lonicera   Lupinus   Lythrum   Madia   Malacothrix   Malva   Medicago   Melica   Melilotus   Mentha   Mentzelia   Mesembryanthemum   Microseris   Mimulus   Mirabilis   Monardella   Morella   Muhlenbergia   Najas   Navarretia   Nemophila   Nicotiana   Nolina   Nymphaea   Oenothera   Oligomeris   Opuntia   Orobanche   Oxalis   Paeonia   Papaver   Paspalum   Passiflora   Pectocarya   Pellaea   Pennisetum   Penstemon   Peritoma   Persicaria   Phacelia   Phalaris   Pholistoma   Phoradendron   Phyla   Piperia   Pittosporum   Plagiobothrys   Plantago   Platanus   Poa   Polycarpon   Polygala   Polygonum   Polypogon   Populus   Portulaca   Prunus   Pseudognaphalium   Quercus   Ranunculus   Raphanus   Rhamnus   Rhus   Ribes   Rubus   Rumex   Ruppia   Sairocarpus   Salicornia   Salix   Salsola   Salvia   Sambucus   Samolus   Sanicula   Schinus   Schismus   Schoenoplectus   Senecio   Senna   Setaria   Silene   Sisymbrium   Solanum   Solidago   Sonchus   Sorghum   Spergularia   Stachys   Stellaria   Stephanomeria   Stipa   Stuckenia   Suaeda   Symphyotrichum   Tamarix   Tauschia   Thalictrum   Thysanocarpus   Tillandsia   Torilis   Toxicoscordion   Tribulus   Trichostema   Trifolium   Triglochin   Tropaeolum   Typha   Umbellularia   Urtica   Verbena   Veronica   Vicia   Viola   Vitis   Xanthium   Zannichellia   Zeltnera  

Vascular Plant Groups Represented in the Flora*


1  Plants never producing flowers, mostly having exposed sporangia with spores (meiospores) or unisexual cones bearing either pollen (pollen cones) or scales with ovules or seeds ± attached to the surface (seed cones)

2  Shrubs and trees with principal aboveground axes forming wood and covered with bark; shoots strongly aromatic from resin produced in ducts; seed cones at pollination with 1-many ovules situated between spreading scales, becoming woody and eventually opening to release seeds (rarely a berrylike cone, Juniperus) .. Gymnosperms

2′ Herbs with stems lacking wood and bark; shoots not strongly aromatic from resin in ducts

3  Floating aquatic herbs with roots not firmly attached to a substrate and leaves or leaflike structures on or slightly below the water surface (fertile structure rarely observed)

4  Shoots 3-dimensional, with threadlike zigzagged stems and partially overlapping, alternate distichous leaves 0.4−0.8 mm long; blades strongly 2-lobed and with water-repellent hairs, green but often aging rose-tinged; root often at fork .. Azolla filiculoides   [pics], Azollaceae (Ferns)

4′ Shoots 2-dimensional to cylindric, lacking an obvious stem but forming a “leaf” (leaf + stem tissue) often from a pouch, with non-overlapping, helically alternate “leaves” > 1 mm long; blades glabrous with water-repellent wax, green not aging red; roots 1 or 0 per “leaf” .. Araceae (Angiosperms)

3′ Herbs terrestrial, or if aquatic, attached to a substrate; stems conspicuous and aboveground or having buried rhizomes with 1-many leaves produced at tip

5  Shoots mosslike with short, densely overlapping; sporangia in terminal, leafy cluster .. Selaginella bigelovii   [pics], Selaginellaceae (Lycophytes)

5′ Shoots neither mosslike nor having awl-like leaves; spore-bearing sporangia occurring on lower surface of blade, in terminal, conelike structures (Equisetum), or at the base of petioles (Marsilea) .. Ferns

1′ Plants producing flowers, having pollen produced within anthers and 1 or more ovules and seeds produced within the ovary of a pistil .. Angiosperms


*A submersed aquatic plant with slender “whorled” branches and orange reproductive structures is hornwort (Chara), a green alga. Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) are also excluded here.





1  Vegetative plants with photosynthetic green stems, the stems low-ridged and jointed (separating easily at nodes); leaves narrow and 1-veined, whorled (8+) and fused into sheath; cones (strobili) terminal, having whorled, sporangium-bearing, polygonal, umbrellalike structures (sporangiophores) .. Equisetaceae

1′ Vegetative plants lacking ridged or jointed, photosynthetic stems; sporangia not borne on polygonal, umbrellalike structures

2  Plants with closely spaced, alternate, mosslike, scalelike leaves; fertile structure rarely present

3  Floating aquatics, plants to 2.5 cm across and fragmenting when large; leaves alternate distichous and strongly 2-lobed, lobes ovate and 0.4-0.8 mm long .. Azolla filiculoides   [pics], Azollaceae

3′ Cushionlike to mat-forming terrestrial herbs, prostrate to decumbent, 3−15 cm tall; leaves helically alternate and daggerlike, 1.4-3.9 mm long with bristle at tip .. Selaginella bigelovii   [pics], Selaginellaceae

2′ Plants with leaves small to large and compound to many-lobed and disssected, having prominent veins; fertile structures present on many or most leaves, producing sporangia on the lower surfaces of blades or rarely larger reproductive structures at the bases of petioles .. Ferns

4  Leaves 4-foliolate, erect to ascending on long petioles arising from rhizome .. Marsilea vestita   [pics], Marsileaceae

4′ Leaves pinnately compound or pinnately lobed

5  Plants mostly > 100 cm tall when leaves fully mature; blades mostly > 700 mm long

6  Leaves widely spaced along a horizontal rhizome (not rosetted), distinctly scented when crushed; petioles initially erect from ground, 350−1000+ mm long; blades mostly odd-2-pinnately compound becoming pinnately lobed approaching tip; sporangia ± continuous along margin of ultimate segments covered by a recurved outer false indusium and partially covered by a true indusium on the inner side .. Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens   [pics], Dennstaedtiaceae

6′ Plants rosetted and eventually with a well-defined principal stem, not scented; petioles spreading to ascending and densely covered by lanceolate and long-tapered scales; blades odd-1-pinnately compound with 8−24 subopposite, lobed, primary leaflets; sporangia formed as elongate sori in 2 rows per lobe, indusium the shape of the sorus and opening on inner edge toward the lobe midrib .. Woodwardia fimbriata   [pics], Blechnaceae

5′ Plants < 100 cm tall, commonly rosetted at ground level; blades mostly < 700 mm long

7  Leaves pinnately lobed, arising individually from creeping rhizome; blades triangular to ovate or lanceolate in outline, 45−300 × 32−125 mm, with 11−35 mostly opposite, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate lobes 18−82 mm long; sori to 35 per lobe, elliptic to circular formed ± midway between midrib and margin, lacking an indusium .. Polypodium californicum   [pics], Polypodiaceae

7′ Leaves compound

8  Blades predominantly 1-compound, overall oblong-linear, linear, narrowly oblong-fusiform, or linear-lanceolate

9  Leaves ascending and spaced along a shallow, creeping rhizome; blades 200−670(−850) × 100−550 mm with petioles (150−)200−680(−800) mm long; sori along veins between midrib and margin; indusium densely hairy .. Thelypteris puberula var. sonorensis   [pics], Thelypteridaceae

9′ Leaves rosetted; blades 50−150 × 10−25 mm with petioles to 60 mm long; sori along veins on both sides of midrib; indusium glabrous .. Asplenium vespertinum, Aspleniaceae

8′ Blades 2-4-compound, lanceolate or broader in outline (never linear)

10  Indusium present, the sori roundish, kidney-shaped in 2 rows per lobe .. Dryopteris arguta   [pics], Dryopteridaceae

10′ Indusium absent, the sori along margin with or without a false indusium, or appearing scattered on the lower surface .. Pteridaceae

11  Lower surface of blades with white or yellowish substance

12  Leaves 1−2-pinnately compound and dissected; blade upper surface glabrous to sparsely hairy, lower surface with yellowish granules secreted from glands evenly distributed along veins, sporangia appearing scattered but occurring along minor veins .. Pentagramma triangularis subsp. triangularis   [pics]

12′ Leaves typically 3-pinnately compound and dissected; blades surfaces with hairs becoming powderlike (farinose), upper surface sparsely to moderately white-farinose and lower surface densely farinose; margin inrolled forming a false indusium partially concealing sporangia .. Notholaena californica   [pics]

11′ Lower surface of blades lacking white or yellowish substance

13  Blades and axes conspicuously hairy, species sometimes glandular-hairy or with scales .. Cheilanthes

13′ Blades and axes glabrous or essentially so

14 Blades typically > 120 mm long; false indusium concealing many sporangia

15  Ultimate blade segments asymmetrically fan-shaped, broad, thin, and flat, with sporangia borne in lines directly on reflexed lobes (false indusia) along outer margins .. Adiantum

15′ Ultimate blade segments sclerophyllous with strongly inrolled lateral margins forming false indusia .. Pellaea

14′ Blades typically 30−90(−120) mm long, ultimate leaflets feathery and highly dissected, each tooth or lobe forming a false indusium concealing 6-10 sporangia .. Aspidotis californica   [pics]








Equisetum L.    HORSETAIL


1 Aerial stems dimorphic, having ivory-colored, ephemeral fertile shoots and green vegetative shoots with whorled branchlets; cone (strobilus) fusiform-ellipsoid, 55−80 × 15−19 mm, having 20−30 whorls of 8 sporangiophores per whorl .. Equisetum telmateia subsp. braunii   [pics]

1′ Aerial stems only green

2  Principal stems 6−12 mm diameter, with 22−44+ low ridges; sheath of leaves length < diameter, initially with a black band aging as two bands; cone (strobilus) (15−)25−35 × 7−9 mm, having 10−12 whorls of 13−15 sporangiophores per whorl .. Equisetum hyemale subsp. affine   [pics]

2′ Principal stems 2−4.5 mm diameter, with 14−23 low ridges; sheath of leaves length > diameter, with only one black band (absent); cone (strobilus) (10−)14−15 × 4−5 mm, having ± 7 whorls and 7−8 sporangiophores per whorl .. Equisetum laevigatum   [pics]





1  Lower surface of blades with white or yellowish substance

2  Leaves 1−2-pinnately compound and dissected; blade upper surface glabrous to sparsely hairy, lower surface with yellowish granules secreted from glands evenly distributed along veins, sporangia appearing scattered but occurring along minor veins .. Pentagramma triangularis subsp. triangularis   [pics]

2′ Leaves typically 3-pinnately compound and dissected; blades surfaces with hairs becoming powderlike (farinose), upper surface sparsely to moderately white-farinose and lower surface densely farinose; margin inrolled forming a false indusium partially concealing sporangia .. Notholaena californica   [pics]

1′ Lower surface of blades lacking white or yellowish substance

3  Blades and axes conspicuously hairy, and sometimes glandular-hairy or with scales .. Cheilanthes

3′ Blades and axes glabrous or essentially so

4  Blades typically > 120 mm long; false indusium concealing many sporangia

5  Ultimate blade segments asymmetrically fan-shaped, broad, thin, and flat, with sporangia borne in lines directly on reflexed lobe margins (false indusia) along outer margins .. Adiantum

5′ Ultimate blade segments sclerophyllous with strongly inrolled lateral margins forming false indusia .. Pellaea

4′ Blades typically 30−90(−120) mm long, ultimate leaflets feathery and highly dissected, each teeth or lobe forming a false indusium concealing 6−10 sporangia .. Aspidotis californica   [pics]




1  Evergreen perennial growing within waterfalls and creeks where roots always wet; dark color of petiolule extending into leaflet veins; false indusia typically 2−7(–9) per ultimate leaflet, 0.8–1.3 × 1−4.5 mm .. Adiantum capillus-veneris   [pics]

1′ Drought-deciduous perennial growing in shady southern oak woodland; dark color of petiolule not extending into leaflet veins; false indusia typically 1−3 per ultimate leaflet, 0.4–1.2 × 2−12 mm .. Adiantum jordanii   [pics]


Cheilanthes Swartz   LIP FERN


1 Leaves typically 3-pinnately compound and conspicuously scaly, with awl-shaped scales along leaf axes and lanceolate to ovate scales on the blades; ultimate leaflet segments strongly inrolled (revolute) forming false indusia .. Cheilanthes covillei   [pics]

1′ Leaves mostly 2-pinnately compound, lacking scales; ultimate leaflet segments crenate with down-turned margins but neither inrolled nor forming false indusia

2  Shoots densely tomentose .. Cheilanthes newberryi   [pics]

2′ Shoots glandular-pilose .. Cheilanthes cooperae   [pics]


Pellaea Link    CLIFF-BRAKE


1 Leaves mostly 2-pinnately compound, with petioles straw-colored or tannish to cinnamon or almond brown; principal leaf axes cylindric; ultimate leaflet segments 1.7–13.8 (−15) × 1.4−8 mm, rounded to truncate at tip .. Pellaea andromedifolia   [pics]

1′ Leaves mostly 3-pinnately compound, with petioles dark brown; principal leaf axes 2-ridged; ultimate leaflet segments 2–6 × 0.5−2 mm, with distinct point at tip .. Pellaea mucronata var. mucronata   [pics]








1  Leaves whorled, with 3 leaves uniformly arranged at each node; blades of typical scale leaves ovate, 1−3 × 0.8−1.5 mm, on whip shoots awl-shaped, 2.5−4 × 1−1.5 mm; dioecious; seed cones berrylike and fleshy, 1−2-seeded, spheroid to subspheroid, 6−12 mm, densely glaucous and light gray to light bluish, aging reddish brown when dry and lacking surface wax .. Juniperus californica   [pics]

1′ Leaves opposite decussate, with leaf bases strongly decurrent; blades of scale leaves < 1.5 mm long

2  Shoots strongly 2-dimensional (plagiotropic) with green branchlets in flat, fan-shaped sprays, green shoot axes 3−4 mm diameter with pairs of leaves switching in a distinctive pattern; mature seed cones 1−4-seeded, generally with 6 flattish cone scales but only the middle pair fertile .. Calocedrus decurrens   [pics]

2′ Shoots of “cylindric” young axes 1.2−1.4 mm diameter with scale leaves monomorphic in four vertical rows and shinglelike; mature seed cones persistent along young branches, many-seeded, with 6−10 radiating, bulky, 4−5-sided scales .. Hesperocyparis


Hesperocyparis Bartel   WESTERN CYPRESS


1  Foliage often grayish green and glaucous due to surface wax and having a dry drop of resin exudate on old leaf; seed cones often somewhat spinescent, having sharp, low points on woody scales; seed with yellowish to brown attachment scar .. Hesperocyparis arizonica   [pics]

1′ Foliage green and not conspicuously glaucous, lacking dry resin exudate on old leaf; seed cones not noticeably spinescent, having blunt points on woody scales; seed with whitish attachment scar .. Hesperocyparis forbesii   [pics]





1 Photosynthetic leaves mostly tufted and helically alternate on short shoots, leaves to 55 mm long; mature seed cones erect on branches, cone scales not spreading to release seeds but instead shattering from central axis .. Cedrus deodara

1′ Photosynthetic leaves 2 per “fascicle” (= deciduous short shoots), fascicles arranged helically alternate, leaves (40−)65−110 mm long; mature seed cones spreading on branches, cone scale widely separated to release seeds, persistent .. Pinus halepensis subsp. halepensis   [pics]






Subkey M

Monocotyledons: blades parallel-veined; flower parts in 3’s


1 Epiphytes; shoots pendent, having long, lax stems with threadlike leaves, gray and covered by reflective scales .. Bromeliaceae

1′ Plants not epiphytic

2  Aquatic herbs (fully submersed, plants floating on surface, or with floating leaves, with roots under water or in ± permanently wet substrate (includes fresh water, brackish water, and salt water)

3 Plants floating on or below water surface

4  Plant body thalluslike, lacking clearly defined stem and leaves; plantlets < 10 mm long, ± floating on surface and clonal, with or without visible root .. Araceae

4′ Plant body with stem and leaves, > 30 mm long

5 Plant floating on water surface = basal rosette with obovate to oblanceolate or spatulate (roundish) leaves, velveteen with water-repellent hairs .. Araceae (Pistia)

5′ Plants submersed and suspended in water column weakly attached to or detached from sediment; blades ± linear, < 5 mm wide, and 1-veined

6  Blades entire, lacking any teeth, indentations, or lobes

7  Leaves alternate on vegetative plant and appearing opposite only at nodes with flowers; stipules fused < 2/3 their length to base of leaf blade; flowers bisexual with 4 tepals and 4 stamens .. Potamogetonaceae

7′ Leaves appearing opposite, whorled, and alternate on a single plant; stipules forming a ligule; flowers unisexual lacking perianth, staminate flower with only 1 stamen; pistillate flower with (4−)5−7 stalked pistils resulting in a set of stalked, D-shaped drupelets .. Zannichelliaceae

6′ Blades with some teeth, indentations, or lobes

8  Leaves superficially appearing opposite (pair = leaf + bract), blades either with small teeth on margins or having prominent prickles; staminate flower with 1 stamen; pistillate flower with 1 pistil developing as a 1-seeded utricle .. Hydrocharitaceae

8′ Leaves generally appearing mostly alternate, blade minutely toothed at and below tip; in fruit pistillate flower having several pistils developing into stalked drupelets; peduncle conspicuously coiled below a set of stalked, asymmetrically ovoid drupelets .. Ruppiaceae

3′ Plants of aquatic and wetland habitats rooted in soil or substrate and shoots entirely or mostly above water

9  Leaves petiolate, blades expanded, with leaves emergent or some aquatic; petals white surrounding numerous stamens and pistils .. Alismataceae

9′ Leaves sessile with sheath

10  Leaves folded lengthwise and attached to stem “edge-on” (equitant)

11  Flowers showy and bright yellow, with sepals broadly spatulate and 70−90 × 35−50 mm, narrower petals, and petal-like style branches .. Iridaceae (Iris)

11′ Flowers nonshowy, tepals ± narrowly boatlike, 2.4–3.3 × 0.5–0.6 mm, green to brownish red with a pair of red veins .. Juncaceae (Juncus)

10′ Leaves flat, cylindric, or folded lengthwise but not attached to stem “edge-on”

12  Flowers 13−15 mm across, bilateral, perianth rose to rose-purple with darker veins and having 1 pistil with an inferior ovary and 1 stamens fused to a central column .. Orchidaceae (Epipactis)

12′ Flowers typically nonshowy, radial, having 1 pistil with a superior ovary and at least 3 easily distinguished stamens

13  Leaves cylindric to somewhat compressed or flattened on 1 side

14  Plants growing in freshwater habitat; inflorescence cymelike with conspicuous bracts; stigmas 3 .. Juncaceae

14′ Plants growing in salt marsh; inflorescence a raceme with 25−75 flowers; stigmas 6 .. Juncaginaceae

13′ Leaves flat or folded along principal vein or veins, or leaf reduced to bladeless sheaths

15  Leaves bladeless or nearly so, composed mainly of a tubular sheath

16  Stems ± triangular in ×-section; perianth as bristles .. Cyperaceae

16′ Stems round, flattened, or several-angled in ×-section

17  Leaf sheath closed; perianth as bristles .. Cyperaceae

17′ Leaf sheath open, with overlapping margins; perianth sepaloid .. Juncaceae

15′ Leaves with blade flat or variously folded

18  Leaves 3-ranked (tristichous); blade V-folded or W-folded with a well-developed keel .. Cyperaceae

18′ Leaves 2-ranked, with ordinary flat, folded, or inrolled blades and generally ± tubular sheath

19  Stems often solid at swollen nodes and hollow in internodes; inflorescence spikelets with a series of bracts (glumes, lemma, palea), (1−)2 glumes at the base of a spikelet and typically a lemma and a palea subtending each flower (floret), with or without awns on glumes or lemmas .. Poaceae

19′ Stems thick and solid throughout, and not swollen at nodes; inflorescence unisexual “spikes” (spikelike), on terminal stalk, each stalk erect with fertile portion 350−600+ mm long having pistillate spike with dense and tightly packed pistillate flowers and sterile flowers (lower inflorescence) and having terminal spike of densely packed staminate flowers, each with thousands of flowers .. Typhaceae

2′ Plants fully terrestrial

20  Trees with a single, thick trunk; leaves extremely large with either pinnate or palmate divisions .. Arecaceae

20′ Plants smaller than trees; leaves large or small lacking divisions or lobes

21  Perianth absent or reduced and not petal-like

22  Leaves in 3 vertical series (tristichous); blades with well-developed keel .. Cyperaceae

22′ Leaves not in 3 vertical series; blades flat or rounded on lower surface (occasionally with keel)

23 Nodes ± swollen and internodes generally hollow (exceptions); ligule present; flowers arranged in bracteate spikelets .. Poaceae

23′ Nodes not swollen and internodes always thick and solid, often mucilaginous; ligule absent; flowers in dense and tightly packed unisexual “spikes” with thousands of flowers .. Typhaceae

21′ Perianth present

24 Ovary superior or only partially inferior (basal 0.5 mm immersed in receptacle)

25  Perianth sepaloid of 6 similar, nonshowy units .. Juncaceae

25′ Perianth petaloid, of 6 showy units

26 Inflorescence umbel-like; plants producing bulbs

27  Plants with odor of onions; inflorescence bracts 2 .. Alliaceae

27′ Plants without odor of onions; inflorescence bracts 3 .. Themidaceae

26′ Inflorescence not umbel-like

28  Plants with large perennial leaves persisting for many years (rosette monocotyledons)

29  Leaves flexible, short-toothed on margins, and lacking sharp point at tip, easily detached from base .. Ruscaceae (Nolina)

29′ Leaves rigid with sharp tip, persistent for years and not easily detached, either entire (Hesperoyucca) or with spinelike teeth (Agave) .. Agavaceae

28′ Perennial herbs, usually dying back to belowground shoot (bulb, corm, rhizome, tuber) at end of growing season

30 Outer whorl of perianth parts much narrower than of the inner perianth whorl; each petalwith a specialized nectary .. Liliaceae (Calochortus)

30′ Parts of the outer whorl and inner whorl of perianth similar

31  Leaves cauline

32  Plant 1-stemmed; leaves straplike and appearing whorled along a single stem; flowers 70−115 mm across and perianth predominately orange but with conspicuous spots .. Liliaceae (Lilium)

32′ Plant a several-stemmed vine; leaves alternate distichous and conspicuous, including true leaves and stems (cladodes) modified as slender leaves; flowers 5−9 mm across and perianth white with green midstripes .. Asparagaceae

31′ Leaves basal and cauline

33 Geophytic rosette monocotyledons with a tall flowering shoot (to 290 cm) that appears after a flower and then retreats belowground until next fire; tepals white with greenish, pink, or purplish red midstripes .. Agavaceae (Chlorogalum)

33′ Plants < 100 cm tall

34  Flowers nodding; tepals brown or dark wine red .. Liliaceae (Fritillaria)

34′ Flowers horizontal and open; perianth white

35  Plants many-stemmed at base; leaves hemi-cylindric and watery; racemes with flowers 18−22 mm across; tepals pinkish white with reddish to brownish midstripe .. Asphodelaceae

35′ Plants 1-stemmed at base; leaves strap-shaped; panicles of racemes with flowers 16−32 mm across; tepals white with green base to midpoint .. Melanthiaceae (Toxicoscordion)

24′ Ovary inferior

36  Flowers strongly bilateral and twisted 180° on pedicel; fertile stamen 1 .. Orchidaceae

36′ Flowers radially symmetric and not twisted on pedicel

37  Leaf succulents with large spine-edged leaves and a massive inflorescence > 8 m tall; flowers with 6 exserted stamens .. Agavaceae (Agave)

37′ Nonsucculent, rhizomatous geophyte with shorts flattened side-to-side and overlapping leaves attached along edges (equitant); fertile stamens 3 fused into a column .. Iridaceae (Sisyrinchium)



Subkey D



(In Progress)


  Adoxaceae   Aizoaceae   Amaranthaceae   Anacardiaceae   Apiaceae   Apocynaceae   Araliaceae   Asteraceae   Bataceae   Berberidaceae   Betulaceae   Boraginaceae   Brassicaceae   Cactaceae   Campanulaceae   Caprifoliaceae   Caryophyllaceae   Ceratophyllaceae   Chenopodiaceae   Cistaceae   Cleomaceae   Convolvulaceae   Cornaceae   Crassulaceae   Cucurbitaceae   Datiscaceae   Dipsacaceae   Ericaceae   Euphorbiaceae   Fabaceae   Fagaceae   Frankeniaceae   Garryaceae   Gentianaceae   Geraniaceae   Grossulariaceae   Hypericaceae   Juglandaceae   Lamiaceae   Lauraceae   Linaceae   Loasaceae   Lythraceae   Malvaceae   Montiaceae   Moraceae   Myricaceae   Myrsinaceae   Myrtaceae   Nyctaginaceae   Nymphaeaceae   Oleaceae   Onagraceae   Orobanchaceae   Oxalidaceae   Paeoniaceae   Papaveraceae   Passifloraceae   Phrymaceae   Pittosporaceae   Plantaginaceae   Platanaceae   Plumbaginaceae   Polemoniaceae   Polygalaceae   Polygonaceae   Portulacaceae   Primulaceae   Ranunculaceae   Resedaceae   Rhamnaceae   Rosaceae   Rubiaceae   Rutaceae   Salicaceae   Santalaceae   Sapindaceae   Saururaceae   Saxifragaceae   Scrophulariaceae   Simaroubaceae   Solanaceae   Tamaricaceae   Theophrastaceae   Tropaeolaceae   Urticaceae   Valerianaceae   Verbenaceae   Violaceae   Vitaceae   Zygophyllaceae






Sambucus L.    ELDERBERRY


.. Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea   [pics]





1  Solitary, geophytic perennials, in certain years (following fire) forming a basal rosette of flexible, strap-shaped leaves lacking terminal spine; flowers opening before sunset and closing before dawn, thereafter having the perianth twisted over the superior ovary; perianth segments linear-oblanceolate, 15–26 × 2.5−3 mm, white, initially with or developing a colored midstripe; capsule spheroidal, 5−7 mm, 6-seeded .. Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum   [pics]

1′ Clonal, evergreen perennials, forming basal rosettes of succulent, stiff, spine-tipped leaves; flowers open for days; perianth segments at least 8 mm wide at base (upper portion sometimes inrolled and appearing linear); capsule oblong, > 20 mm long with stacks of many flat seeds

2  Blades 50−270 mm wide at midblade, conspicuously glaucous with loose surface wax, margins spinose; flowers erect, yellow and green, with perianth tube, containing copious nectar; stamens erect, exserted, with versatile anthers 28−37 mm long; ovary inferior .. Agave americana var. americana   [pics]

2′ Blades 10−29 mm wide at midblade, sometimes appearing glaucous but without loose surface wax, entire; flowers arching to pendent, cream-colored, with 6 tepals (no perianth tube), lacking nectar; stamens spreading, club-shaped, with basifixed anthers ca. 2 mm long; ovary superior .. Hesperoyucca whipplei   [pics]


NB.  The family designation of each genus has been highly disputed and is still unsettled.  It is possible that these three genera should not be treated together within Agavaceae. Agavaceae may also be treated within Asparagaceae.





1  Petals and petal-like staminodes present

2  Perennial herbs; leaves strictly opposite

3 Leaves petiolate, blades flattened or somewhat flattened, lower surface with raised, water-filled epidermal cells (vesiculate); flowers 8−20 mm across .. Aptenia

3′ Leaves sessile, blades succulent and fingerlike, surfaces smooth; flowers 25−100 mm across

4  Leaves bluntly 3-sided, glaucous pale bluish green; flowers vibrant rose magenta but orange-red on upper surface of petals .. Malephora crocea   [pics]

4′ Leaves sharply 3-angled and 3-sided, green to glaucous green; flowers rose magenta, reddish purple, pinkish rose-magenta (rose), or yellow .. Carpobrotus

2′ Halophytic annuals; leaves both opposite and helically alternate, covered with glistening, water-filled, bladderlike cells (vesiculate); petals and staminodes white with greenish base .. Mesembryanthemum

1′ Petals and petal-like staminodes absent

5  Shoots with T-shaped (2-armed) hairs; leaves nearly sessile, blades spatulate-obovate to obovate, 5−33 mm long, folded upward; stamens 10 with 5 pairs fused at base; ovary ± superior; capsule 2.5−3 mm long .. Galenia pubescens   [pics]

5′ Shoots lacking T-shaped (2-armed) hairs but conspicuously covered with water-filled, bladderlike cells (vesiculate); leaves petiolate, blades triangular-to rhombic-ovate or ovate, 8−70 mm long, inrolled and often wavy on margins; stamens 10 or 15, not fused at bases; ovary inferior; fruit nutletlike, hard and indehiscent, with 4 or 6 short horns, 6.5−12 mm long .. Tetragonia tetragonioides   [pics]


Aptenia N. E. Brown


1  Leaves somewhat fleshy with dark green, heart-shaped blades; with 1-several-flowered axillary cymes; flower ca. 10 mm across; petals and petal-like staminodes magenta .. Aptenia cordifolia   [pics]

1′ Leaves definitely fleshy or succulent with yellowish green, ovate blades; flowers solitary and axillary, 18-20 mm across; petals and petal-like staminodes strawberry red, vivid red, or orangered .. Aptenia cordifolia × A. haeckeliana ‘Red Apple’



Carpobrotus N. E. Brown   FIG-MARIGOLD


1  Leaves sharply triangular, fully developed 50−120 mm long, minutely serrate on lower margin approaching tip; flower 60−100 mm across, petals 20−40 mm long and yellow to pinkish or rose-magenta; berry 20−35 mm long .. Carpobrotus edulis   [pics]

1′ Leaves with lower faces convex, fully developed 25−50 mm long, entire approaching tip; flower 25−30 mm across, petals 8−12 mm long and magenta to reddish purple; berry 17−20 mm long .. Carpobrotus chilensis   [pics]


Mesembryanthemum L.   ICEPLANT


1  Leaves flat, 15−70 mm wide; flowers 15−24 mm across .. Mesembryanthemum crystallinum   [pics]

1′ Leaves subcylindric, < 3 mm wide; flowers 9−13 mm across .. Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum   [pics]





1  Blades conspicuously arrow-shaped with backward-pointing basal lobes; flowers unisexual, with a whorl of pistillate flowers at the lowest nodes and whorls of staminate flowers at other nodes .. Sagittaria latifolia

1′ Blades lacking basal lobes; flowers only bisexual

2  Blades heart-shaped (ovate), cordate at base, all principal veins diverging from base of blade; petioles channeled and narrowly winged; inflorescence with or without short branches < internode on main axis; flowers 10−12 mm across; petals (2.5−)5−7(−8) mm; stamens 12(15) in several whorls; fruits a subspheroid cluster of beaked achenes .. Echinodorus berteroi   [pics]

2′ Blades lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, truncate to rounded at base, intermost pair of principal lateral veins arising from midvein somewhat above base of blade; petioles U-shaped becoming hemi-cylindric approaching blade; lateral branches evident, wiry, and widespreading, greatly > internode on main axis; flowers ca. 7 mm across; petals 3−4 mm wide; stamens 6 in 3 pairs; fruits a whorl of beakless achenes .. Alisma triviale   [pics]





Allium L.    ONION, GARLIC


1  Leaves 1, shriveled or absent before flowering; pedicels purplish; flowers 8−10 mm across with erect perianth; tepals deep rose to strong reddish purple (white); outer bulb scale brownish with herringbone pattern .. Allium peninsulare var. peninsulare   [pics]

1′ Leaves 2 or more, present and still green at flowering; pedicels greenish to whitish; flowers mostly 11+ mm across with spreading perianth; tepals white to pinkish

2  Leaves ± horizontal to ground, lanceolate-linear, to 100 mm long, often minutely toothed on margins; capsule 4.5−5 mm long; outer bulb scale with parallel veins, netlike cell pattern between principal veins and vertically elongate with thick sinusoidal walls .. Allium neapolitanum   [pics]

2′ Leaves ascending to erect, narrowly linear, 100−300 mm long, entire; capsule 2.5−3 mm long

3  Leaves 3−5 per bulb; tepals mostly white or blushed pink with greenish to rose-red or brownish on lower surface, 4−4.4 mm wide; free portion of filaments 4.5−5.5 mm long; pistil ± 6 mm long, 2 crests on each ridge of ovary; outer bulb scale vertically veined and fine-striped, stripes straight to slightly wavy .. Allium haematochiton   [pics]

3′  Leaves 2−3 per bulb; tepals light pink to light purplish pink with green to purplish pink (brownish) midstripe, 3−4.1 mm wide; free portion of filaments 2.5−3 mm long; pistil ± 3.3 mm long, crests absent on ovary; outer bulb scale with netlike pattern .. Allium praecox   [pics]


NB:  In range there are several reports of other species, including Allium campanulatum S. Watson, A. fimbriatum S. Watson, and A. lacunosum S. Watson, which we have not been able to confirm.





Amaranthus L.    AMARANTH, PIGWEED


1  Inflorescence of axillary flower clusters throughout the canopy

2  Plants mostly conic with regular 3-dimensional branching, aging spinescent and eventually abscising (tumbleweed); utricle irregularly broken when grasped containing lenticular seed 1−1.1 mm having an encircling rim .. Amaranthus albus   [pics]

2′ Plants horizontal to ground, not spinescent; utricle dehiscent around circumference (circumscissile)

3  Stems prostrate on ground (freshwater shoreline), cylindric; blades elliptic to ovate or obovate, typically 2–20 × 1.3–12 mm, the smaller leaves on axillary shoots, not folded upward along midrib, light green; tepals 2(−3), on pistillate flower distinctively unequal and 0.4−0.8 mm long; stamens 3, filaments 1−1.2 mm long; utricle tardily dehiscent with cap; seeds lenticular, 0.7−0.9 mm and 0.25 mm thick .. Amaranthus californicus   [pics]

3′ Shoots procumbent to decumbent forming dense mats, stems with irregular ridges; blades elliptic or obovate to oblong or ovate, 5–40 mm long, relatively small and folded upward on axillary shoots, bluish green; tepals 3−5 and equal, ca. 2 mm long; filaments 1.2−1.6 mm long; utricle easily dehiscent with cap; seeds lenticular, 1.3−1.7 mm and ca. 1 mm thick .. Amaranthus blitoides   [pics]

1′ Inflorescence terminal in dense, compound clusters of flowers (also some axillary inflorescences)

4  Shoots procumbent to decumbent, typically < 30 cm tall; bractlets subtending flowers 1.2 mm long; tepals 2(−3), unequal, 1−1.5 mm long; utricle indehiscent and somewhat inflated with seed at base; shoots sparsely or densely tomentose on young growth becoming mostly sparsely pubescent with kinky-crisped hairs .. Amaranthus deflexus   [pics]

4′ Shoots ascending to erect, typically 30−80+ cm tall; tepals 4−5, 1.8−3.5 mm long; utricle dehiscent around circumference (circumscissile)

5  Plants mostly glabrous with some hairs in inflorescence; blades to 65 mm long; bractlets subtending flowers 2−4 mm long; tepals ovate; stamens 4 .. Amaranthus powellii subsp. powellii   [pics]

5′ Plants conspicuously pubescent throughout; blades often 70−180 mm long; bractlets subtending flowers 1.3−1.8 mm long; tepals obovate; stamens 5 .. Amaranthus retroflexus   [pics]





1  Leaves compound

2  Leaflets 9−30+, entire to small-toothed on margins; stamens (8)10 in 2 whorls; evergreen (trees) .. Schinus

2′ Leaflets 3(5), often with broad teeth or shallowly lobed; stamens 5−6 in 1 whorl; winter-deciduous (shrubs to woody climbers)

3  Leaflets sessile or nearly so and arising from one point, mostly dull on upper surface; panicles terminal with clustered flowers; flowers ± sessile, appearing before leaves, functionally bisexual; drupelike fruits strongly aromatic, fleshy, 5–6 × 7 × 4 mm, bright red-orange to orangish or yellowish, pilose and viscid with glandular hairs .. Rhus aromatica   [pics]

3′ Leaflets mostly having well-defined petiolules and not arising from one point, often glossy on upper surface; panicles axillary and open; flowers on pedicels, appearing with leaves, functionally of only 1 sex on each individual; drupelike fruits leathery, 4–5 × 4–6.5 mm, creamy white, longitudinally ridged, glabrous .. Toxicodendron diversilobum   [pics]

1′ Leaves simple

4  Inflorescence with relatively slender branchlets; flowering during early and mid-summer; drupelike fruits 2.5−3 mm diameter, initially deep red-purple aging white, glabrous .. Malosma laurina   [pics]

4′ Inflorescence with stiff branchlets; flowering late winter to late spring; drupelike fruits 4.5−9 mm diameter, dark red to rose or brown, pilose and viscid with glandular hairs .. Rhus


Rhus L.    SUMAC


1  Plants in clumps with dense branches, winter-deciduous; leaves 3-foliolate, blades short-tomentose; flowers always functionally bisexual; petals ± yellow .. Rhus aromatica   [pics]

1′ Plants solitary, evergreen and sclerophyllous; leaves simple, blades essentially glabrous; individuals with all pistillate flowers (gynodioecious); petals white to dark pink or rose

2  Blades flattish, obtuse at tip; petioles mostly < 13 mm long; flowers 7−8 mm across; petals not short-pilose on upper surface; drupelike fruit compressed rhombic-ellipsoid, 7–11 × 7.5–9 mm, dark red to reddish brown but eventually whitish from swollen, glandular hairs .. Rhus integrifolia   [pics]

2′ Blades often folded upward from midrib, acute at tip; petioles 8−30 mm long; flowers 3.5−5(−7) mm across; petals short-pilose on upper surface; drupelike fruit asymmetrically compressed-ovoid, ca. 7−8 × 6 mm, blushed red to rose .. Rhus ovata   [pics]


Schinus L.    PEPPER TREE


1  Terminal branches lax, often pendent; leaflets < 12 mm wide and longest at the base, lateral leaflets > 10, mostly subopposite or alternate along rachis; branchlets on staminate panicles with pulvinus; calyx lobed to midpoint, lobes obtuse .. Schinus molle   [pics]

1′ Terminal branches stiff, not pendent; leaflets 12−35 mm wide and longest at the tip, lateral leaflets 4−10, always in pairs along rachis; branchlets on staminate panicles not thickened at base; calyx lobes 2× tube, acute .. Schinus terebinthifolius   [pics]





1  Trailing, weak-stemmed annual with mostly opposite, kidney-shaped, palmately lobed leaves; scattered stellate hairs present on shoots, flowers, and fruits; cymes axillary, having 1−3 minute flowers with white petals .. Bowlesia incana   [pics]

1′ Herbs with helically alternate leaves (if cauline leaves opposite then highly dissected); stellate hairs absent; flowers in umbels or compound umbels

2  Petals and filaments yellow to yellowish green

3  Plants in flower mostly 100+ cm tall with several−many thick stems at base; petioles 70−140 mm long with large, feathery blades having the odor of licorice (anise); canopy with axes repeatedly forked bearing flat-topped compound umbels 50−120 mm across; involucel absent; schizocarps when immature blue-green and glaucous with tan ribs .. Foeniculum vulgare   [pics]

3′ Plants in flowers mostly < 100 cm tall but if tall typically 1-stemmed at base; blades strongly odorous when crushed but not odorous like licorice; involucel present

4  Inflorescence of headlike umbels produced in cymelike arrays; schizocarps densely covered with hooked bristles .. Sanicula

4′ Inflorescence an obvious compound umbel; schizocarps lacking hooked bristles

5  Plants aromatic like celery (Apium); flowers ca. 2 mm across; schizocarps broadly winged, 8+ mm long .. Lomatium

5′ Plants aromatic like carrot (Daucus); flowers 4−5 mm across; schizocarps not broadly winged but having ribs, 4−6.5 mm long .. Tauschia

2′ Petals and filaments white (tinged pinkish or purplish red) or pale green (pale yellow)

6  Plants glabrous

7  Annuals having short leaves with slender, linear to oblong ultimate segments

8  Upper cauline leaves opposite, aromatic like celery (Apium); stems often having ridges with minute teeth; flowers 0.8−1 mm across; schizocarps ca. 1 mm long and before splitting heart-shaped, minutely bumpy or with obscure ribs or wrinkled .. Apiastrum angustifolium   [pics]

8′ Upper cauline leaves helically alternate, aromatic like carrot (Daucus); stems cylindric without ridges and teeth; flowers 1−1.5 mm across; schizocarps mostly 1.8−3 mm long with prominent corky ribs .. Cyclospermum leptophyllum   [pics]

7′ Biennial herbs having leaves mostly > 100 mm long

9  Stems with conspicuous deep purplish red spots; leaves finely dissected, strongly musty-scented; involucre of 3−8 bracts, 2−6 mm long; involucel of 2−6 bractlets fused below midpoint; petals unequal, 0.6−1.7 mm long .. Conium maculatum   [pics]

9′ Stems lacking purplish red spots; leaves aromatic with pleasant, culinary scent; petals equal or subequal

10  Leaves odd-1-pinnately compound with to 12 pairs of sessile, ovate-triangular to broadly lanceolate, unlobed and regularly serrate lateral leaflets, mildly aromatic like carrot (Daucus); stems ± cylindric; involucre of 8−10 ± free, radiating bracts 6−30 mm long, involucel of 4−8 bractlets; filaments ± 1.5 mm long; ovary urn-shaped to rectangular, ca. 1 mm long and often purplish above midpoint .. Berula erecta   [pics]

10′ Leaves ± 2-pinnately compound with 1−several pairs of stalked, palmately lobed and irregularly toothed lateral leaflets, strongly aromatic like celery (Apium); stems strongly ridged; involucre and involucel absent; filaments 0.3−0.7 mm long; ovary club-shaped, ca. 0.5 mm long, 10-ribbed .. Apium graveolens   [pics]

6′ Plants with at least some hairs on shoots

11  Mericarps with bristles or conspicuous bumps (tuberculate)

12  Annuals; leaves finely dissected

13  Inflorescence lateral and opposite leaf; involucre absent (1 bract)

14  Petals subequal within each flower; mericarps ca. 4 mm long, elongate with beak, lacking ribs, with hooked bristles but bristles absent on beak, lacking hairs .. Anthriscus caucalis   [pics]

14′ Petals unequal within each flower; mericarps about as long as broad, 2−4 mm long, with hooked bristles in rows alternating with white hairs on at least some mericarps (others tuberculate), the bristles with minute hooks along shaft and barbed at tip .. Torilis

13′ Inflorescence terminal

15  Foliage without aroma; involucre absent, involucel of 2−6 bractlets; mericarps 15−80 mm long, with a persistent stylopodium and style forming a long, seedless beak, scabrous with upward-pointing barbs along ribs and beak .. Scandix pecten-veneris   [pics]

15′ Foliage aromatic like carrot (Daucus); involucre and involucel present; mericarps 2−3.5 mm long, lacking a long beak

16  Umbellets (4−)8−many, in conspicuous, flat-topped compound umbel (nestlike in fruit); mericarps with rows of bristles barbed at tip and ribs with hairs or prickles .. Daucus

16′ Umbellets 1−3, loosely grouped; mericarps with hooked bristles radiating from grooves and shorter, pointed hairs along ribs .. Yabea microcarpa   [pics]

12′ Perennial herbs (oak woodland); thick-taproot with caudex licorice-scented; leaves odd-2-pinnately compound and lobed, to 570 mm long, blades of leaflets lobed and serrate, sparsely short-pilose; flowers bisexual and staminate; petals 2−2.5 mm long + tip, pale green; mericarps 12−20 mm long, 5 ribs with ascending bristles, with slender beak .. Osmorhiza brachypoda   [pics]

11′ Mericarps lacking bristles and bumps, conspicuously winged, 8+ mm long, the wings initially purple, with 3 ribs and scattered hairs on outer surface; perennial herbs with highly dissected basal and cauline leaves, having short, erect white hairs; involucel extending far beyond flower but involucre absent or with only 1 bract; petals green but appearing greenish white due to hairs .. Lomatium dasycarpum subsp. dasycarpum   [pics]


Daucus L.    CARROT


1  Annuals, 1-stemmed at base, with slender taproot and feathery basal leaves; compound umbel 4−15(−25) mm across, mostly with 8−16 primary rays; petals 0.3 mm long; mericarps 2−2.5 mm long, with bristles 0.2−0.6 mm long and prickles 0.5−1.2 mm long .. Daucus pusillus   [pics]

1′ Bienniel herbs, several−many-stemmed at base, with thick taproot; compound umbel (12−)30−65 mm across, with 28−60+ primary rays; petals of bisexual flowers 1−2.5 mm long and conspicuously unequal and heteromorphic within a flower; mericarps 3−3.5 mm long, stiff hairy and bristles 1.2−1.5 mm long .. Daucus carota   [pics]


Lomatium Raf.    DESERT PARSLEY


1  Leaves leathery, 1−2-pinnately 3-foliolate, with primary leaflets deeply 2−3-lobed and having blades coarsely and sharply dentate, glabrous; blade of terminal leaflet 15−55 × 15−50 mm; flowers unisexual (monoecious); ovary glabrous at top; mericarps notched at top and bottom .. Lomatium lucidum   [pics]

1′ Leaves ± soft and finely dissected, 3−4-pinnately divided and 3-dimensional, somewhat hairy; flowers bisexual (occasionally with pistillate flowers, gynomonoecious); ovary with white hairs at top; mericarps cordate at base

2  Plants several-stemmed at base with many, crowded basal leaves; petioles partially sheathing but many-ridged, 25−120 mm long; ultimate divisions of leaves 1−3(−6) × 0.3−0.7 mm, short-pilose to short-tomentose; bractlets of umbellet lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 0.5−15 mm long and some conspicuously exceeding flowers; petals green with short white hairs .. Lomatium dasycarpum subsp. dasycarpum   [pics]

2′ Plants typically 1-stemmed at base with uncrowded basal and cauline leaves; petioles sheathlike, ± inflated, > 15 mm long; ultimate divisions of leaves mostly linear to narrowly oblong, 3−15(−25) × 0.8−1.2 mm, puberulent (glabrous); bractlets of umbellet fan-shaped with serrate tips, 2−5 mm long and not exceeding flowers; petals bright yellow .. Lomatium utriculatum   [pics]




1  Basal leaves coarsely dissected, deeply palmately lobed, with principal divisions usually at least 4 mm wide, aromatic like celery (Apium); petiole winged only at base, with glandlike bodies approaching blade;

2   Plants mostly 1-stemmed at base, erect and typically 50−130 mm tall; blades 50−150 mm long, terminal lobe obovate and 20−50+ mm wide, serrate; umbellets in flower 2−4 mm across; stamens 5, filaments ± 1 mm long .. Sanicula crassicaulis   [pics]

2′  Plants several-stemmed at base, mostly decumbent and < 30 cm tall; blades 30−95 mm long, terminal lobe oblanceolate and 10−20 mm wide, strongly toothed; umbellets in flower 6−8 mm across; stamens 5 or 10, filaments 2.5−3.5 mm long .. Sanicula arguta   [pics]

1′ Basal leaves finely dissection, pinnately divided to 1−2-compound, with principal divisions < 2 mm wide, strongly aromatic; petiole wings often to midpoint, lacking glandlike bodies;

3  Bractlets subtending pedicels 1−2 mm long; sepals and petals 4(−5), petals greenish yellow to pale yellowish green; filaments 0.7−1.4 mm long; mericarps with stout, radiating, hooked prickles 0.5−1 mm long with bulbous bases; pedicels of staminate flowers < fruits .. Sanicula bipinnata   [pics]

3′ Bractlets subtending pedicels 3−5.5 mm long; sepals and petals 5, petals bright yellow; filaments ± 2 mm long; mericarps bumpy and lacking hooked prickles; pedicels of staminate flowers conspicuously > fruits .. Sanicula tuberosa   [pics]


Tauschia Schltdl.


1  Leaves obviously 2-pinnately compound with stalked primary leaflets, papillate-hairy; many compound umbels only staminate; petals 2.5−3.5 mm long; mericarps 4−5.3 mm long, ribs < 0.2 mm tall with several fine, parallel wrinkles in each interval between ribs .. Tauschia hartwegii   [pics]

1′ Leaves mostly 1-pinnately compound but occasionally lobed and appearing somewhat 2-compound, most primary leaflets unlobed, glabrous; compound umbels with both bisexual outer flowers and staminate central flowers; petals 1.1−2 mm long; mericarps 5−6.5 mm long, ribs 0.4−0.6 mm tall .. Tauschia arguta   [pics]




1  Plants erect; leaf lobes 2–5 mm wide; peduncle axillary, > leaf, flexible, < 1 mm diameter, > 50 mm long; umbel open with rays and pedicels ± equal; petals unequal; outer and inner fruit halves equally prickly .. Torilis arvensis   [pics]

1′ Plants spreading to ascending; leaf lobes 1–2.5 mm wide; peduncle opposite leaf, < leaf, stiff, 1.5 mm diameter, < 35 mm long; umbel headlike with rays and pedicels short and unequal; petal ± equal; outer fruit half prickly, inner half only with bumps (tuberculate) .. Torilis nodosa   [pics]





1  Plants having twining shoots

2  Blades triangular-ovate to triangular-lanceolate, 40–95 × 15–60 mm, especially when young downy short-tomentose; flowers 25–28 mm across, sweetly scented, showy and white; follicles ovoid with blunt tip, 90−120 × 70 mm, ± truncate at base, minutely puberulent appearing grayish green .. Araujia sericifera   [pics]

2′ Blades linear to narrowly lanceolate or narrowly triangular, 7.5–24 × 1.1–2.8 mm, sparsely puberulent with appressed, recurved hairs; flowers 5−6 mm across, nonshowy green and purplish brown and yellowish; follicles lanceoloid, 60–70 × 5 mm, narrowly tapered to tip, pubescent .. Funastrum cynanchoides var. hartwegii   [pics]

1′ Plants lacking twining shoots

3  Trailing plants with arching shoots on slender, flexible stems bearing paired leaves in 2-dimensions (plagiotropic); flowers axillary and only 1 per node, 40–60 mm across, with 5 spreading, asymmetric, blue corolla lobes .. Vinca major   [pics]

3′ Plants with tough stems arising from the ground, leaves not oriented in just 2 dimensions; flowers in terminal (axillary) clusters, not blue or having spreading corolla lobes

4  Plants soft-hairy, at least in inflorescence; leaves petiolate; umbel-like cyme; flowers highly specialized with elaborate design having appendages on corolla (corona) and stigma and anthers fused .. Asclepias

4′ Plants glabrous throughout; leaves subsessile; cymes with several principal axes at base; flowers small, 2−2.5 mm across, with calyx, corolla, and stamens clearly recognizable .. Apocynum cannabinum   [pics]


NB.  The treatment here combines families Asclepiadaceae and Apocynaceae.  Also found sometimes along creeks is the apocynoid cultivated shrub oleander, Nerium oleander, which has evergreen, whorled leaves and showy flowers.  At each known location, if not originally planted there, it has apparently been carried downstream after being uprooted from a home landscape during a violent rainstorm.  However, fertile fruits have never been observed in range, so that plants persist but currently are not becoming naturalized.


Asclepias L.    MILKWEED


1  Shoots ± glabrous, blades narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate-linear, 3−18 mm wide; flowers 4.5−7 mm across; follicles narrowly fusiform, 75−120 × ca. 7 mm .. Asclepias fascicularis   [pics]

1′ Shoots densely white-tomentose to white-woolly, blades ovate or oblong to heart-shaped, 25−90 mm wide; flowers 11−18 mm across; follicles ovoid, typically 70−100 × ca. 35 mm

2  Leaves mostly opposite; flowers rose-purple; seeds 8−10 × 7−9 mm .. Asclepias californica   [pics]

2′ Leaves mostly in whorls of 3−4; flowers cream-colored; seeds 7−10 × 4−6 mm .. Asclepias eriocarpa   [pics]





1  Plants with adventitious roots, floating on surface of water

2  Plants with a basal rosettes having spreading to ascending leaves with conspicuous, raised veins and densely covered with velveteen, water-repellent hairs .. Pistia stratiotes   [pics]

2′ Plant with leaves (fronds) floating on water, venation inconspicuous (observe with magnification), glabrous .. Lemna

1′ Plants lacking adventitious roots, floating just beneath the surface of the water; tightly rosetted of 1−2(−4) highly reduced green shoots (fronds), with daughter frond arising from a basal pouch .. Wolffiella lingulata


Lemna L.    DUCKWEED


1  Fronds hemi-spheroid with inflated lower surface, lower surface grayish green but sometimes tinged purplish red, large blisters on surface to 2.5 mm long, convex surface with sculpturing of cell walls .. Lemna gibba   [pics]

1′ Fronds ± flat and not inflated, lower surface green like upper surface and lacking blisters

2  Frond at maturity obovate, 2.5−3.5 × 2−2.7 mm, green often senescing colorless, somewhat biconvex with expansion more on lower surface, broadly acute at tip, mostly 3-veined (view on colorless, senescent frond), commonly with 1 vein very close to margin .. Lemna minor   [pics]

2′ Fronds at maturity obovate to ± broadly elliptic, 0.8−4 × 0.5−2 mm, green often senescing colorless, surfaces flat, obtuse at tip, indistinctly 1-veined with vein rarely extending beyond midfrond .. Lemna minuta   [pics]





Hydrocotyle L.   MARSH PENNYWORT


1  Leaves with petiole attached to midpoint on lower surface of blade (peltate); blades ± round and without obvious lobes; inflorescence interrupted, having 10−60 flowers arranged in whorl-like clusters (verticils) of 5−7 flowers .. Hydrocotyle verticillata   [pics]

1′ Leaves with petiole attached at base of blade; blades broadly heart-shaped with 3 or 5 shallow lobes and cordate at base; inflorescence with only 5−10 flowers all congested at tip .. Hydrocotyle ranunculoides


NB.  Hydrocotyle moschata occurs as a lawn weed in Santa Monica and Westwood (Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden), but is not known from any wild collection in California.  Hydrocotyle umbellata was documented by early collectors along the Los Angeles River, close to the eastern boundary of the range.





1  Leaves pinnately compound, blades (850−)3000−4000+ mm long, length >> width, the basal leaflets stiff and daggerlike with sharp, spine tip; flowers unisexual (dioecious); inflorescence at anthesis a dense panicle of many ± straight, ascending spikes partially concealed by a boat-shaped and conspicuously 2-keeled bract close to the trunk; berry ovoid-ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid, 18−22 × 10−13 mm, green and smooth often maturing orange and wrinkled .. Phoenix canariensis   [pics]

1′ Leaves palmately divided with blades splitting margin toward base, blades (200−)600−1350 mm, length ± = width, lacking spine-tipped basal leaflets but have sharp spines along petioles; flowers only bisexual; inflorescence a compound panicle with 5–6 orders of branching, ascending and arching, to 3600 mm long and fully exposed with leaves; berry obovoid, 4.5−6 × 2.2−3 mm, dark brown .. Washingtonia robusta   [pics]





Asparagus L.    ASPARAGUS


.. Asparagus asparagoides   [pics]





Asphodelus L.    ASPHODEL


.. Asphodelus fistulosus   [pics]





1  Corollas all 2-lipped (bilabiate), strap-shaped lips purplish pink to reddish purple or deep lilac (white), 3-toothed (outer lip) and 2-toothed (inner lip) .. Acourtia microcephala   [pics]

1′ Corollas never 2-lipped or head with inconspicuously 2-lipped ray flowers (Monolopia lanceolata)

2  Plants with milky latex; heads with all flowers having bilateral, ± strap-shaped corolla (ligulate flowers) mostly with 5 short teeth .. GROUP 1

2′ Plants lacking milky latex; heads with all flowers ± radially symmetric or having an outer series of bilaterally symmetric flowers (ray flowers)

3  Heads discoid (disc flowers) or disciform (disc flowers and similar peripheral flowers)

4  Pappus absent or minute and inconspicuous .. GROUP 2

4′ Pappus present on most or all flowers .. GROUP 3

3′ Heads radiate, having an outer series of bilateral ray flowers and a central area of disc flowers

5  Pappus absent or minute and inconspicuous .. GROUP 4

5′ Pappus present on most or all flowers

6  Pappus of soft to firm bristles .. GROUP 5

6′ Pappus of pointed, barbed awns or stiff scales .. GROUP 6


GROUP 1Milky latex present; heads composed of only bilateral flowers (ligulate) with 5 teeth


1  Pappus composed of scales, in some cases terminating with stiff, barbed awn (aristate)

2  Perennial herbs; heads subsessile in paniclelike arrays; flowers blue; pappus of minute, awnless scales .. Cichorium intybus   [pics]

2′ Annuals; heads on long peduncles, solitary and terminal or in cymelike array with several heads; flowers yellow, pale yellow, or white; pappus with conspicuous scales, at least some sharp-tipped

3  Foliage hirsute-hispid becoming ± scabrous with hairs barbed at tip; outer phyllaries bluntly keeled with narrowly winged margins enveloping ovaries becoming incurved and hardened around outer cypselae; pappus of outer flowers with 5 fused scales, of inner flowers not fused .. Hedypnois cretica   [pics]

3′ Foliage appearing glabrous or mealy from drying of ephemeral hairs; outer phyllaries not hardened and enveloping ovaries or cypselae; pappus scales never united .. Microseris

1′  Pappus composed of flexible to stiff bristles, feathery or capillary

4  Pappus bristles mostly feathery with fine lateral branches (plumose)

5  Fruit with prominent beak between cypsela and pappus, at least for central flowers

6  Perennial herbs with grasslike basal and cauline leaves, blades mostly 200+ mm long; heads solitary on long peduncles terminating each shoot, 50−70 mm across; corollas purple; head in fruit ca. 100 mm across, fruit ca. 50 mm long including ribbed cypsela and beak with reddish brown pappus 21−25 mm long .. Tragopogon porrifolius   [pics]

6′ Annuals with at least some leaves having lobes or teeth; heads in branched array; corollas not purple; head in fruit with pappus < 35 mm across

7  Shoots glabrous; heads 13−24 mm across; corolla white; fruit with cypsela 4−5 mm long and brown with purplish dashes, beak 4.5−7.5 mm long, and pappus 6−8 mm long .. Rafinesquia californica   [pics]

7′ Shoots with hairs; corolla yellow

8  Plants strongly rosetted, scapose with leafless, branched inflorescences; blades ± hirsute; heads 5−14 mm across; receptacle with bractlets (paleae) < 6 mm long cupped around ovary; outer flowers producing fruits with or without beak, inner fruits beaked .. Hypochaeris

8′ Plants with basal and cauline leaves along branched inflorescences; blades bristly with coarse hairs; heads > 20 mm across; receptacle lacking bractlets (paleae); all flowers producing fruits with beak

9  Coarse hairs with 2−4 terminal hooks or grapplelike, lacking fine hairs; blades of basal leaves 100−370 × 25−80(−100) mm; bracts surrounding involucre (calyculus) conspicuous, ovate, 9−20 × 4−9 mm increasing and spreading in fruit; limbs of corollas 10−14 mm long; fruits dimorphic, of outer flowers cypsela enclosed by inner phyllary, crescent-shaped, 2.8−3 mm long, and short-hairy, with beak 4−5 mm long and diminutive pappus 2−3 mm long, of central flowers cypsela mummylike, 2.5−2.8 mm long, with beak 4−5 mm long and pappus 4−7.5 mm long, the beaks slender .. Helminthotheca echioides   [pics]

9′ Coarse hairs bristlelike to minute-spinelike often hooked or claw-shaped, also with fine curly to wavy hairs; blades of basal leaves 30−100 × 15−55 mm; bracts surrounding involucre (calyculus) absent; fruits ± dimorphic, cypselae compressed oblanceoloid, 3.5−4 mm long and having grasping projections, with beak 8−11(−15) mm long and pappus 9−12 mm long, the beaks greatly enlarged nearly to midpoint and never straight .. Urospermum picroides   [pics]

5′ Cypselae lacking a beak below pappus; shoots nearly glabrous to white-tomentose or woolly, never stiff hairy; heads on short, axillary cymelike clusters (1-headed) along canopy branches; corolla purple or purplish to pink or lavender (whitish); pappus wholly are partially plumose .. Stephanomeria

4′ Pappus bristles mostly of flexible to firm capillary bristles; flowers yellow (white in Malacothrix saxatilis)

10  Fruit having slender beak between cypsela and pappus

11  Plants strongly rosetted and acaulous, with solitary heads on erect peduncles arising from axils of basal leaves; fruit with beak between cypsela and pappus

12  Leaves densely soft-hairy and appearing gray-pubescent; peduncle many-ridged; heads 15−25 mm across; bracts subtending involucre (calyculus) many, ascending and ovate or elliptic, 9−13 mm long; phyllaries 14−24 mm long; head in fruit with pappus 55−65 mm across; cypselae 3.5−7 mm long, 10-pleated, with beak 13−17 mm long and pappus 7−11 mm long .. Agoseris grandiflora var. grandiflora   [pics]

12′ Leaves villous becoming glabrescent and always appearing green; peduncle smooth; heads 25−50 mm across; bracts subtending involucre (calyculus) 13−19, reflexed and lanceolate, 5−10 mm long; phyllaries 8−18 mm long; head in fruit with pappus 25−35 mm across; cypselae 2.8−3 mm long, with beak 7−9 mm long and pappus 5−7 mm long .. Taraxacum officinale   [pics]

11′ Plants with basal and cauline leaves, with many heads in canopy

13  Shoots often with prickles or bristles to 3 mm long along stems and leaf axes; inflorescence open, heads 9−11 mm across; bracts subtending involucre (calyculus) ca. 8, ascending and narrowly ovate to triangular to 3 mm long; head in fruit with pappus 11−17 mm across: cypselae 2.8−3.5 mm long and strongly compressed, with beak 3.5−4.1 mm long and pappus 4−5 mm long .. Lactuca serriola   [pics]

13′ Shoots with smooth, ascending, wandlike photosynthetic branches (virgate); inflorescence of heads densely clustered at axils, with heads 13−17 mm across; bracts subtending involucre (calyculus) several and minute; head in fruit with pappus > 17 mm across; cypselae ± 3 mm long and angular and 15-ribbed, with beak 4.5−5 mm long and pappus (5−)5.5−6 mm long .. Chondrilla juncea   [pics]

10′ Fruit lacking beak between cypsela and pappus

14  Heads to 26 mm across; flowers yellow

15  Foliage conspicuously villous and with some dendritic hairs and scattered short-stalked glandular hairs, dendritic hairs and glandular hairs also on inflorescence; heads ca. 15 mm across; limbs of corolla ca. 4 mm long .. Hieracium argutum   [pics]

15′ Foliage never having dendritic hairs

16  Upper cauline leaves slender and linear, with teeth at base or slender clasping basal lobes (auriculate); bracts subtending involucre (calyculus) ca. 8

17  Heads 6.5−8 mm across; peduncles, bracts, and involucres ± glabrous; limbs of corollas 2.2−2.5 mm long cypselae (1.2−)1.4−1.6 mm long, with pappus having outer set of minute triangular scales + a long bristle and an inner set of bristles 4−4.5 mm long .. Malacothrix clevelandii   [pics]

17′ Heads 16−24 mm across; peduncles, bracts, and involucres short-hairy and with some glandular hairs, the glandular hairs on phyllaries often blackish and aging bristlelike; limbs of corollas 4.5−9 mm long; cypselae 2−2.6 mm long and strongly 10-ribbed, with pappus bristles in 2 series 4−6 mm long .. Crepis capillaris

16′ Upper cauline leaves conspicuous, often toothed or lobed, with prominent clasping basal lobes; bracts subtending involucre (calyculus) absent; involucre glabrous or with glandular hairs; pappus 5−9 mm long, for each flower inner series of capillary bristles coherent or fused at base; cypselae 2.5−3.8 mm long .. Sonchus

14′ Heads 20−43 mm across; flowers white with some having pinkish midstripe; outer pappus whorl a rim with minute teeth and inner pappus whorl of barbed capillary bristles fused at bases .. Malacothrix saxatilis var. tenuifolia   [pics]


GROUP 2.  Heads discoid (disc flowers) or disciform (disc flowers and similar peripheral flowers); pappus absent or minute and inconspicuous


1  Flowers of 2 types in each head

2  Peripheral flowers with corolla more showy than on central disc flowers

3  Peripheral flowers bisexual; phyllaries > 25 in 2 series, linear-lanceolate; receptacle lacking long capillary bristles; calyx (pappus) of 4 scales to 1 mm long; corolla to 10 mm long, golden yellow .. Chaenactis glabriuscula var. glabriuscula   [pics]

3′ Peripheral flowers generally neuter; phyllaries many in a graded series, often spinescent on margins; receptacle having long capillary bristles; calyx (pappus) absent; corolla 10−23 mm long, lavender purple, blue, violet-blue, or light purple (white) .. Centaurea (part)

2′ Peripheral flowers not more showy than central disc flowers

4  Within a head, peripheral flowers pistillate and central flowers staminate

5  Short and fine-stemmed annuals with white-woolly foliage; involucre < 3 mm wide

6  Heads with only 7−11 flowers; shoots with mostly alternate leaves

7  Leaves mostly basal; paleae of pistillate flowers 3-veined (having 2 prominent lateral veins); paleae of staminate flowers persistent and hooked at tip .. Ancistrocarphus filagineus   [pics]

7′ Leaves cauline; paleae of pistillate flowers 1-veined; paleae of staminate flowers lacking paleae and hooks .. Micropus californicus var. californicus   [pics]

6′ Heads with 14−22 flowers; leaves opposite at nodes 1−2; heads readily separating from plant like minute, cottony balls .. Stylocline gnaphaloides   [pics]

5′ Rhizomatous perennial herb to 45 cm tall, foliage strigose to villous with gland-dotted leaves and involucres, pleasantly aromatic; involucre at anthesis 3.7−5 mm wide and wider in fruit .. Iva axillaris   [pics]

4′ Within a head, peripheral flowers pistillate and central flowers bisexual or appearing so; anthers fused into cylinder surrounding style

8  Plants mostly woolly or cottony on at least young foliage (plants often gray to white; exceptions in Pseudognaphalium) and clusters of heads; phyllaries and other bractlets scarious and white to silvery reflective or light pink

9  Receptacle without bractlets (paleae); heads with pistillate peripheral flowers and bisexual central flowers

10  Blades green, at least upper surface, at maturity; foliage strongly scented and obviously glandular-hairy .. Pseudognaphalium (part)

10′ Blades white-tomentose to woolly on both surfaces; foliage unscented or only mildly scented and glandular hairs absent or inconspicuous

11  Heads clustered at tips of stems, usually surpassed by subtending leaves; pappus bristles 8−12, not united and falling separately .. Gnaphalium palustre   [pics]

11′ Heads not so clustered and subtending leaves very reduced or absent; pappus bristles 12+ and united at base and falling as a unit .. Pseudognaphalium (part)

9′ Receptacle with bractlets (paleae); shoots with mostly opposite leaves; pistillate peripheral flowers 10−30; paleae veiny; pappus absent .. Psilocarphus tenellus   [pics]

8′ Plants neither conspicuously woolly nor having scarious bracts on the head

12  Corolla of peripheral flowers absent; central flowers with 4 stamens and a 4-lobed corolla

13 Leaves helically alternate; heads terminal on a conspicuous peduncle; central flowers bisexual; peripheral flowers short-stalked, leaving short pedicles on old receptacle; cypselae often winged .. Cotula

13′ Leaves alternate but appearing opposite at each fork produced a sessile, solitary head; central flowers functionally staminate; peripheral flowers sessile; cypselae not winged, horseshoe crab-shaped with a spinelike tip .. Soliva sessilis   [pics]

12′ Corolla of peripheral flowers present

14  Ephemeral, strongly aromatic annual; peripheral (ray) flowers not showy and enclosed within a phyllary, which falls with the fruit; central flower surrounded by a tube of fused bractlets (paleae) .. Madia exigua   [pics]

14′ Shrubs, perennial herbs, biennials (annuals); flowers somewhat colorful, peripheral flower not closely associated with a phyllary; bractlets (paleae) absent on receptacle

15  Leaves helically alternate (sometime opposite in Artemisia tridentata) but branching always alternate, foliage strongly scented (unscented in A. biennis); corolla pale yellow to greenish, of peripheral flowers 2−5-lobed, of central flowers 5-lobed .. Artemisia (part)

15′ Taprooted annuals; leaves (and branches) opposite decussate, scabrous and strigose; central flowers functionally bisexual; corolla lobes whitish, of peripheral flowers unlobed or shallowly 2-lobed, of central flowers 4(−5)-lobed .. Eclipta prostrata   [pics]

1′ Flowers only of 1 type in a head

16  Heads unisexual; staminate heads of discoid flowers and anthers not fused; pistillate heads highly modified with pistillate flowers concealed within involucres (except exserted styles); fruits burlike (spinescent involucres) or not but with tubercles, cypsela always hidden within involucre

17  Leaves pinnately lobed; staminate involucre with united phyllaries; fruiting involucre 1-fruited, having a spine or tubercle projection from each phyllary .. Ambrosia

17′ Leaves unlobed or with only basal lobes; staminate involucre with phyllaries free; fruiting involucre 2-fruited, covered with many hooked bristles .. Xanthium

16′ Heads of bisexual discoid flowers; anthers fused in a ring surrounding style; shrubs with gray to whitish foliage; corolla 5-lobed, yellow; fruiting structures never spinescent

18  Leaves crowded along stems, blades linear to oblanceolate and often shallowly 3-lobed at tip, (2−)8−35(−55) × 1.5−5 mm, strongly aromatic; corolla 0.8−1.2 mm across, pale yellow .. Artemisia tridentata subsp. parishii   [pics]

18′  Leaves widely spaced, blades linear and never lobed, 20−60 × 1−2.5 mm with dense, white, feltlike hairs, unscented; corolla 5−6 mm across, vivid yellow .. Tetradymia comosa   [pics]


NB.  Hesperevax  has also recently been collected in range.


GROUP 3.  Heads discoid (disc flowers) or disciform (disc flowers and similar peripheral flowers); pappus present and relatively conspicuous


1  Flowers of 2 types in each head

2  Peripheral flowers < central flowers, each peripheral flower opposite a phyllary, pistillate, and having a bright yellow, 2-toothed corolla; central disc flowers bisexual and having 4 stamens and mostly 4 corolla lobes; aromatic (sticky), glabrous ephemeral annuals of the coastal zone .. Amblyopappus pusillus   [pics]

2′ Peripheral flowers > central flowers

3  Blades linear with upper cauline leaves having tiny basal lobes; bisexual central flowers typically with 4 stamens; phyllaries green and striped often with dark purple tips; plants ± white woolly .. Senecio quadridentatus   [pics]

3′ Blades not lobed; bisexual central flowers typically with 5 stamens; phyllaries not with dark purple tips

4  Relatively unbranched and often tall annuals; leaves conspicuously hairy, where glandular hairs present not in shallow pits; central flowers bisexual; pappus 2−3.7 mm long

5  Shoots villous and viscid with stalked glandular hairs; cauline leaves sessile and clasping; heads with 150−200 peripheral flowers and 8−10 central flowers .. Laënnecia coulteri   [pics]

5′ Shoots not viscid and lacking glandular hairs; cauline leaves sessile to petiolate but not clasping; heads generally with < 150 peripheral flowers and > 12 central flowers .. Erigeron (part)

4′ Rhizomatous perennials (annuals); leaves strongly spicy with glandular hairs in shallow pits; central flowers functionally staminate; corolla with rose-pink to purple lobes, pappus capillary bristles ca. 4.5 mm long .. Pluchea odorata var. odorata   [pics]

1′ Flowers of 1 type in each head

6  Low, weedy annual with feathery, finely dissected leaves that smell like pineapple; tiny bisexual disc flowers 125−500+ produced on a conic to hemispheric receptacle; corolla 4-lobed and stamens 4 .. Matricaria discoidea   [pics]

6′ Shrubs to annuals without finely dissected leaves, sometimes aromatic but never scented like pineapple; bisexual disc flowers produced on a flat to concave receptacle; corolla typically 5-lobed and stamens 5

7  Plants with either spine-tipped phyllaries or spines on leaves and internodes or both (thistles)

8  Pappus of white capillary bristles or narrow scales

9  Fruit lacking beak between cypsela and pappus

10  Blades with spine-tipped teeth; flowers monomorphic and all bisexual

11  Stem internodes spinescent along leaflike wings (decurrent leaf bases); corollas 12−16 mm long, with linear lobes 4−5.3 mm long and dark lavender, orchid, or purple; cypselae 3.8−4.2 mm long, with 100−170 bristles to 15 mm long .. Carduus pycnocephalus subsp. pycnocephalus   [pics]

11′ Stem internodes not spinescent; corolla 20+ mm long

12  Blades broad, to 600 mm long, dark green with wide, gray to whitish areas along principal veins; corollas with 3−4 lobes fused 1/4−1/2 length, dark purple; cypselae 5.5−7 × 3.3−4 mm, with pappus 5−7 whorls of long capillary bristles with inner whorl of shorter, fine hairs, falling together as a cupped ring .. Silybum marianum   [pics]

12′ Blades oblong to lanceolate, to 120 mm long, green without gray to whitish patches; corolla with all separate lobes, bright yellow with purplish red veins; cypselae 4.5−5 mm long, at least inner fruits of head with 85−105 narrow, white pappus scales .. Carthamus lanatus   [pics]

10′ Blades lacking spines, to 150 mm long, never dark green and lacking achlorophyllous areas; flowers dimorphic with peripheral flowers somewhat showier and neuter; corollas 10−23 mm long, with lobes not fused, yellow, blue, lavender purple, to light purple; cypselae 2.5−5 mm long .. Centaurea (part)

9′ Fruit having beak between cypsela and pappus, beak ca. 0.2 mm long, cypselae never produced from showier, neuter peripheral flowers .. Centaurea calcitrapa   [pics]

8′ Pappus bristles mostly feathery with fine lateral branches (plumose); fruit lacking beak between cypsela and pappus

13  Both leaves and involucre having sharp spines; blades of cauline leaves mostly toothed or shallowly lobed, lacking glandular hairs; corolla < 25 mm long with lobes < 7 mm long, light to deep purple, lavender, or white; pappus bristle plumose base-to-tip .. Cirsium

13′ Leaves spiny but involucre like a pine cone and lacking spines or spines < 2 mm long; blades of cauline leaves deeply pinnately lobed, with midrib appearing to have leafy wings, lower surface with scattered glandular hair beneath wool; corolla 32−54 mm long with lobes 5−12 mm long, blue; pappus bristles finely and short-plumose at least from midpoint .. Cynara cardunculus subsp. cardunculus   [pics]

7′ Plants lacking spines on shoots and inflorescences

14  Disc flowers yellow

15  Perennial vines with large polygonal blades 20−80 mm wide broadly dentate and having palmate venation .. Delairea odorata   [pics]

15′ Shrubs or subshrubs or annuals, blades < 35 mm wide

16  Blades linear, threadlike, or scalelike < 5 mm wide and with entire margins

17  Shoots with blades reduced to appressed scales and stem hidden by green, decurrent leaf bases defined by grooves; heads with 9−13(−17) disc flowers; corolla 3−4 mm across; pappus bristles dense, 5−8 mm long, and persistent .. Lepidospartum squamatum   [pics]

17′ Leaves spreading to ascending from stems

18  Leaves widely spaced, blades 20−60 × 1−2.5 mm with dense, white, feltlike hairs, unscented; heads with (5−)6 flowers; 5−6 mm across .. Tetradymia comosa   [pics]

18′ Internodes between leaves < 10 mm, blades resinous and aromatic when crushed, either glabrous to glabrate (often coated with resin) or tomentose matted with resin; heads with 4−18 flowers 1.5−3 mm across .. Ericameria (part)

16′ Blades wider with teeth or lobes

19  Phyllaries in graded series and overlapping

20  Leaves opposite decussate and stems with longitudinal channels below each node, pinnately 3-foliolate or 5-foliolate; pappus of 2(3) erect, barbed awns .. Bidens (part)

20′ Leaves helically alternate, blades never compound, toothed; pappus of capillary bristles

21  Leaves clasping; arrays of heads racemelike to spikelike; involucre ± cylindric, 6.5−12 mm long; corolla throat expanded gradually above tube; cypselae 5.3−7.5 mm long with pappus 8.5−9 mm long .. Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides   [pics]

21′ Leaves sessile to subsessile but not clasping; arrays of heads ± flat-topped to domed; involucre ± cylindric aging inversely conic, 5−10.5 mm long; corolla throat expanded abruptly above tube; cypselae 2−4.2 mm long with pappus to 6.5 mm long and unequal .. Isocoma

19′  Phyllaries in 1 or 2 series and appearing whorled, with dark purple or black tips; annuals with lobed, slightly fleshy leaves .. Senecio (part)

14′ Disc flowers white or pinkish to purple to greenish or yellowish green, never yellow

22  Herbs

23  Foliage glandular-hairy and aromatic

24  Annuals on burns, foliage resinous-smelling; leaves pinnately compound, 70−180 mm long, much dissected and somewhat 3-dimensional; involucre hemispheric to bell-shaped, 10−12 × 12−15 mm, containing > 150 white flowers .. Chaenactis (part)

24′ Annuals (biennials) of moist or coastal habitats, foliage aromatic; leaves pinnately lobed, < 25 mm long; involucre ± hemispheric or ± urn-shaped, 5.5−6 × 6−7.5 mm, containing < 50 golden yellow disc flowers (often also white ray flowers) .. Perityle emoryi   [pics]

23′ Foliage not glandular-hairy and aromatic; clonal by creeping roots; heads 5−14 mm across, with 11−20+ flowers; corolla 9−11.5 mm long, strong reddish purple; receptacle bristles flattened and smooth, 4−7.5 mm long .. Acroptilon repens   [pics]

22′ Shrubs or subshrubs

25  Leaves opposite decussate having petioles 10−43 mm long, blades 25−110 × 15−90 mm; inflorescence densely glandular-hairy with glandular heads becoming reddish; corollas white; cypselae with pappus of 5 colorless bristles with upward-pointing barbs .. Ageratina adenophora   [pics]

25′ Leaves helically alternate with petioles to 10 mm long; inflorescence not glandular-hairy; cypselae with pappus of 15+ capillary bristles

26  Flowers of head appearing bisexual but species dioecious with functionally staminate and pistillate plants, staminate heads with pappus; involucre bell-shaped to hemispheric; staminate flowers 2−2.5 mm across, pistillate flowers 0.25−0.5 mm across; cypselae 5-ribbed, with white (brown) pappus .. Baccharis

26′ Flowers all bisexual producing fruits with pappus; involucre cylindric to subcylindric; flowers to 1 mm across; cypselae 10-ribbed, with tawny to straw-colored pappus .. Brickellia


GROUP 4Heads radiate (ray flowers and disc flowers); pappus absent or minute and inconspicuous


1  Ray flowers white, of material escaped from cultivation of bright colors, never yellow

2  Heads with white ray flowers

3  Corollas of disc flowers white

4  Perennials with helically alternate, finely dissected, aromatic leaves; heads in tight, flat-topped or convex array; limbs of ray flowers roundish, 1.8−2.3 × 1.8−2.1 .. Achillea millefolium   [pics]

4′ Annuals with opposite decussate, unlobed, scabrous and strigose leaves; heads in open, cymelike array; limbs of ray flowers linear and inconspicuous .. Eclipta prostrata   [pics]

3′ Corollas of disc flowers ± golden yellow

5  Phyllaries pocketlike, each enclosing a ray flower; receptacle bractlets (paleae) forming a curtain between ray flowers and outer disc flowers; limbs of ray flowers white with purple veins on lower surface .. Hemizonia congesta subsp. luzulifolia

5′ Phyllaries not pocketlike and not enclosing a ray flower; receptacle with or without bractlets (paleae), but not having a curtain of paleae between ray flowers and outer disc flowers

6  Limbs of ray flowers roundish, 1.5−4 mm long; pappus of minute scales and rarely 1 short bristle .. Perityle emoryi   [pics]

6′ Limbs of ray flowers 4−15 mm long

7  Heads in dense, flat-topped arrays; compound leaves with alternate to subopposite lateral leaflets and with a petiole 7−35 mm long .. Tanacetum parthenium   [pics]

7′ Heads solitary on long axis; compound leaves symmetric with mostly opposite lateral leaflets and lacking a petiole .. Anthemis cotula   [pics]

2′ Heads with brightly colored ray flowers

8  Leaves opposite decussate, finely 1−3-pinnately dissected; inflorescence a cymelike array of 1−3 flowers; pappus on disc flowers sometimes minutely 1-pointed or 2-pointed .. Cosmos bipinnatus   [pics]

8′ Leaves helically alternate, simple often shallowly lobed or toothed; heads mostly solitary on long stalks; pappus always absent .. Dimorphotheca

1′ Ray flowers yellow, sometimes with white patches

9  Leaves opposite, at least at many of the nodes

10  Blades glaucous and comparatively thick with only a midvein apparent; pappus of disc flowers sometimes of 1−5 bristles < 0.3 mm long; perennial herbs growing in salt marsh .. Jaumea carnosa   [pics]

10′ Blades neither glaucous nor thick; pappus never of short bristles; plants absent from salt marsh

11  Plants densely woolly; heads 13−45 mm across, ray flowers 5 or 8 and disc flowers 12−many; corolla of ray flower with a small lobe opposite the toothed limb .. Monolopia lanceolata   [pics]

11′ Plants not woolly; ray flowers 5−13; corolla without special lobe opposite the toothed limb

12  Heads 8−11 mm across, with 5 ray flowers and 6 disc flowers; receptacle with bractlets (paleae) fused for 1 mm to form a short, pleated tube between the 2 types of flowers .. Lagophylla ramosissima   [pics]

12′ Heads 23−30 mm across, with 6−13 ray flowers and 20−95 disc flowers; receptacle without bractlets (paleae) .. Lasthenia (part)

9′ Leaves helically alternate (some opposite, especially on the lower plant)

13  Ray flowers 2-colored with yellow and white, on some or all individuals in a population

14 Robust annuals with 2(−3)-dissected leaves; heads mostly 30−60 mm across with ca. 18 ray flowers and many disc flowers; plants with either all-yellow ray flowers or limbs of ray flowers white at the base and yellow above midpoint; cypselae polymorphic, with various wings .. Glebionis coronaria   [pics]

14′ Annuals with linear to oblanceolate-linear leaves; heads mostly < 30 mm across with 8−10 ray flowers and 40−48 disc flowers; limbs of ray flowers bright yellow but abruptly white on tips of lobes; cypselae club-shaped and without wings .. Layia platyglossa   [pics]

13′ Ray flowers only yellow

15  Receptacle without bractlets (paleae)

16  Shrubs of chaparral and coastal sage scrub communities; leaves entire

17  Involucre with leafy, spreading to reflexed phyllaries; corollas of disc flowers bright yellow .. Venegasia carpesioides   [pics]

17′ Involucre with appressed phyllaries; corollas of disc flowers orange-yellow or dark purple .. Encelia

16′ Herbs; woolly tomentose throughout; leaves pinnately lobed with to 3 lobes on each side .. Baileya multiradiata   [pics]

15′ Receptacle with bractlets (paleae); phyllaries in 1 series, and a phyllary enclosing each ray flower

18  Plants spinescent; involucre subtended by spine-tipped bracts (calyculus); phyllary of ray flower folded lengthwise; disc flowers functionally staminate, each enclosed by a palea .. Centromadia pungens subsp. pungens   [pics]

18′ Plants not spinescent; involucre not subtended by spine-tipped bracts; disc flowers bisexual or staminate, phyllary of ray flower pocketlike and enclosing ovary of a ray flower; paleae forming a division between ray flowers and outer disc flowers .. Madia (part)


GROUP 5.  Heads radiate (ray flowers and disc flowers); pappus of soft to firm bristles

(In Progress)


1  Limbs of ray flowers lavender to shades of purple, violet (bluish), pink, and white

2  Plants mostly woolly (grayish); disc flowers 1.5 mm across; pappus bristles many, 4−6 mm long .. Corethrogyne filaginifolia   [pics]

2′ Plants nearly glabrous to sparsely short-hairy; disc flowers 0.7−1 mm across; pappus bristles 2−3.8 mm long

3  Blades 1−3 mm wide; heads 15−25 mm across; pappus dimorphic including short scales in an outer whorl .. Erigeron (part)

3′ Blades 2−15 mm wide, heads either < or > 15−25 mm across; pappus monomorphic and lacking scales .. Symphyotrichum

1′ Limbs of ray flowers yellow (may include some white) to yellow-orange

4  Leaves exclusively opposite decussate, blades glaucous and comparatively thick with only a midvein apparent; pappus on ray flowers absent and on disc flowers either absent or of 1−5 bristles < 0.3 mm long; ray flowers 7−10(−12) and disc flowers (20−)35−50, heads 8−15 mm across; perennial herbs growing in salt marsh .. Jaumea carnosa   [pics]

4′ Leaves either helically alternate or parts of the shoot with some leaves opposite, blades not conspicuously glaucous or thick; plants absent from salt marsh (sometimes present in coastal sand habitat)

5  Annuals; ray flowers 8−10 and disc flowers 40−48, heads 14−25(−35) mm across; limbs of ray flowers bright yellow but abruptly white on tips of lobes; pappus often absent or reduced to a small crown on top of ovary, but in range disc flowers with 15+ flattened bristles 1−2.3 mm long; inflorescence with glandular hairs having ruby red heads .. Layia platyglossa   [pics]

5′ Limbs of yellow ray flowers lacking white tips; pappus of disc flowers not of flattened bristles

6  Pappus of 100+ white, soft, silky capillary bristles on cypsela

7  Cauline leaves with basal lobes mostly clasping stem   (Note: there is no 7′ at this time)

8  Shrubs having leaves pinnately dissected with 1−3 pairs of linear lateral lobes; foliage when young grayish woolly-tomentose; heads with 7−13(−21) ray flowers and 40−63 disc flowers, heads 25−40 mm across .. Senecio (part)

8′ Herbs

9  Perennial herbs with long-petiolate lobed lower leaves having a large terminal lobe; ray flowers (4−)6−8 and disc flowers 24−46, heads 12−30 mm across; corolla limbs of ray flowers yellow-orange with darker veins; pappus of capillary bristles 4.5−6.2 mm long in fruit .. Packera breweri   [pics]

9′ Annuals with mostly shallowly lobed leaves; ray flowers several and inconspicuous to 13 and disc flowers many, heads 3−20 mm across; corolla limbs yellow .. Senecio (part)

6′ Pappus of firm capillary bristles on cypsela

10  Shoots gland-dotted and aromatic when crushed

11  Ephemeral annuals to 30 cm tall; heads with 5−8 nonshowy ray flowers and usually 1 disc flower, and each ray flower enveloped by a phyllary; ray flowers separated from disc flower by a tube formed from fused bractlets (paleae); cypselae of disc flowers sometimes having several short bristles .. Madia (part)

11′  Perennials; ray flowers neither enveloped by phyllaries nor separated from disc flowers by bractlets (paleae)

12  Perennial herbs with rhizomes

13  Tall, erect shoots in wet soil along creek beds or in wetlands, to 200+ cm tall with linear blades; foliage glabrous; inflorescences congested at shoot tips domelike; heads 3.5−4.5 mm across; pappus capillary bristles 20−40, 3.5−4 mm long increasing to 6 mm long in fruit .. Euthamia occidentalis   [pics]

13′ Plants of woodland edges, to 150 cm tall, with elliptic to obovate or oblanceolate blades; foliage densely canescent or short-tomentose to nearly glabrous; heads in narrow, paniclelike arrays with heads oriented to the upper side and 3−7 mm across; pappus capillary bristles on cypselae 2.5−3.5 mm long .. Solidago

12′ Shrubs with linear leaves, often with resin drying on surface, glabrous to sparsely hairy; ray flowers conspicuous to inconspicuous; pappus bristles 30−50+, 4−8 mm long in fruit .. Ericameria

10′ Shoots not gland-dotted or aromatic

14  Coarsely hairy annuals; pappus consisting of an outer whorl of 20−30 scales and 1−2 inner whorls of capillary bristles .. Heterotheca

14′ Sparsely hairy annuals; pappus lacking outer whorl of scales; capillary bristles 8−12 united at base, easily broken in fruit but persisting as a ring .. Pentachaeta lyonii   [pics]


GROUP 6Heads radiate (ray flowers and disc flowers); pappus of pointed, barbed awns or stiff scales


1  Pappus awns present on some or all cypselae

2  Foliage covered with soft hairs, densely sericeous-strigose when appressed; heads 30−52 mm across with 12−16 ray flowers and 100+ disc flowers; cypselae of disc flowers with 2 ascending awns 0.7−1.3 mm long but lacking barbs .. Verbesina encelioides   [pics]

2′ Foliage not covered with soft hairs; ray flowers typically < 11; cypselae with variable numbers of awns

3  Leaves helically alternate; especially heads covered with liquid resin; heads with 20−45 ray flowers; pappus awns on ray flowers 1−2, 3−3.5 mm long; pappus awns on disc flowers 2−3(−6), 3−5 mm long .. Grindelia camporum   [pics]

3′ Leaves opposite decussate; resin not present on surface of plant; heads with (0)5−13 ray flowers

4  Spring annuals mostly 6−35 cm tall with showy yellow heads (highly variable in size within a population); limbs of ray flowers 1.5−3 mm wide; pappus awns 0−7 on ray flowers and 0−9 on disc flowers, 1−2 mm long, white .. Lasthenia (part)

4′ Robust herbs and weeds to 180 cm tall; limbs of ray flower 3−13 mm wide, yellow or white; pappus awns 2−4(−5), 0.5−4 mm long, brown .. Bidens (part)

1′ Pappus of translucent, scarious scales on some or all cypselae

5  Coarsely hairy annuals; pappus consisting of an outer whorl of 20−30 scales and 1−2 inner whorls of capillary bristles .. Heterotheca (part)

5′ Pappus not composed of separate whorls of scales and bristles

6  Pappus scales on ray and disc flowers 5−6, 0.4−1.2 mm long, the longest ones having a short awn at the top; inflorescence a complete ball of 500−600 disc flowers + 4−20 ray flowers .. Helenium puberulum   [pics]

6′ Pappus scales with no awns at the top

7  Escaped cultivated herbs with large, multicolored heads, including yellows, white, dark green, and purple; sap milky; pappus on disc flowers only, of 25 silky, erect scales in 2 series and to 7.5 mm long .. Gazania linearis   [pics]

7′ Herbs, shrubs, and subshrubs with only 1 color of ray flowers per head; sap not milky; pappus not of silky, erect scales

8  Ray flowers white; foliage aromatic

9  Leaves 1−2-pinnately dissected, 30−100 mm long; heads in flat-topped arrays; pappus of ray and disc flowers an irregular crown of short scales 0.1−0.2 mm long .. Tanacetum parthenium   [pics]

9′ Leaves pinnately lobed, < 25 mm long; heads in cymelike arrays; pappus scales minute and rarely with 1 bristle .. Perityle emoryi   [pics]

8′  Ray flowers yellow

10  Receptacle without bractlets (paleae) subtending flowers; pappus scales 5−14 in 1−2 series

11  Pappus scales only 0.15−0.3 mm long; disc flowers having 4 stamens and mostly 4 corolla lobes; ray flower inconspicuously bilateral .. Amblyopappus pusillus   [pics]

11′ Pappus scales 0.4−1.1 mm long; disc flowers having 5 stamens and 5 corolla lobes; ray flowers conspicuously bilateral

12  Subshrub with linear to threadlike leaves, minutely short-hairy, aromatic, and somewhat resinous; ray flowers 4−8 and disc flowers 4−10; projections on receptacle with swollen-base hairs .. Gutierrezia californica   [pics]

12′ Subshrubs and herbs white-woolly to tomentose and minutely glandular-hairy .. Eriophyllum

10′ Receptacle with bractlets (paleae) subtending flowers 4−15 mm long

13  Involucre 8+ mm wide; ray flowers 4−15+ mm wide; palea associated with each flower

14  Pappus scales 2−5, 1.5−4.5 mm long .. Helianthus

14′ Pappus scales sometimes found on disc flowers, 1.8−2.2 mm long .. Leptosyne (part)

13′ Involucre 2−8 mm wide; ray flowers 2−6.4 mm wide; paleae formed as a curtain between ray flowers and outer disc flowers; pappus scale on disc flowers

15  Pappus scales 5−12 in 1 whorl, 1−2.5 mm long .. Deinandra

15′ Pappus scales 10 in 2 whorls (scarious rings), at anthesis ± 2.5 mm long; on mature head, pappus conspicuous and shiny white, outer scales 5.5−6.5 × 2−2.5 mm and inner scales 8−10.5 × 2−2.5 mm .. Achyrachaena mollis   [pics]




1  Perennial herb; involucre densely soft-hairy and often woolly at base; pappus at anthesis 6−7.5 mm long; stamens ± 1.3 mm long; beak of cypsela 13−17 mm long .. Agoseris grandiflora var. grandiflora   [pics]

1′ Annual; involucre glabrous to sparsely hairy; pappus at anthesis 2.5−3.3 mm long; stamens 2.6−2.9+ mm long; beak of cypsela 5−11 mm long .. Agoseris heterophylla var. heterophylla


Ambrosia L.    RAGWEED


1  Leaves pinnately toothed to 1-pinnately lobed; fruiting involucre not burlike, unarmed or with a single row of tubercles below the single beak, 2−3 mm long .. Ambrosia psilostachya   [pics]

1′ Leaves 1-pinnately lobed to 4-pinnately lobed; fruiting involucre with 8+ spines below the 1−4 beaks

2  Annuals; fruits densely covered with flattened radiating spines 2−4 mm long .. Ambrosia acanthicarpa   [pics]

2′ Perennials

3  Plants moundlike, prostrate and decumbent on coastal dunes; foliage silvery canescent; burs 8−10 mm long .. Ambrosia chamissonis   [pics]

3′ Plants erect; not present on coastal dunes; foliage green to gray-green; fruits 2.5−4 mm long .. Ambrosia confertiflora


Artemisia L.    SAGEBRUSH


1  Shrubs

2  Blades linear or with to 6 linear lobes, 12−70 mm long; involucre 3−4 mm wide with 6−10 pistillate peripheral flowers and 9−35 bisexual central flowers all nonshowy .. Artemisia californica   [pics]

2′ Blades oblanceolate short 3-lobed at top; involucre 1.5−2.2 mm wide with (1−)4−6 yellow, bisexual discoid flowers .. Artemisia tridentata subsp. parishii   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs

3  Blades linear to lanceolate or oblong, 10−65 × 1.5−7 mm; heads with 5−6 pistillate peripheral flowers and 7−13(−25) staminate central flowers; phyllaries glabrous .. Artemisia dracunculus   [pics]

3′ Blades lobed, mostly > 50 mm long; heads with 6 or more pistillate peripheral flowers and several−many bisexual central flowers

4  Blades ovate in outline and 1−2-pinnately dissected, 40−90+ mm long, surface green to yellow-green; heads erect, with glabrous phyllaries .. Artemisia biennis

4′ Blades elliptic to widely oblanceolate with 3−5 lobes, 90−175 mm long, upper surface dark green and lower surface whitish gray and densely matted woolly; heads nodding, with tomentose and pubescent phyllaries .. Artemisia douglasiana   [pics]




1  Shoots often arching and wandlike, having at least some curly or shaggy brown nonglandular hairs, with yellowish green glandular hairs but never resinous; cypselae 2.4−3+ mm long, with 60+ pappus bristles

2  Blades lanceolate or oblanceolate to elliptic, 15−70 × 2.5−14 mm, serrate base-to-tip with > 15 teeth per edge, 3-veined at base; peduncle ridged and hairy; heads 19−26-flowered and involucre 6−7 mm long (staminate) and 20−30-flowered and involucre 8−8.5 mm long (pistillate); ovary wedge-shaped, style branches ± 1.5 mm long; corolla tube whitish below midpoint .. Baccharis plummerae subsp. plummerae   [pics]

2′ Blades linear, 15−70 × 1−3(−8) mm, remotely toothed with several teeth above midblade, 1-veined at base; peduncle lacking ridges and glabrate; heads 6−36-flowered and involucre 5.5−6 mm long (staminate) and 29−38-flowered and involucre 6−6.5 mm long (pistillate); ovary ± cylindric, style branches < 1 mm long; corolla tube green below midpoint .. Baccharis malibuensis   [pics]

1′ Shoots mostly ascending to erect, essentially lacking nonglandular hairs (occasional hairs in B. salicifolia), with glandular hairs in pits and tending to be resinous; cypselae 0.6−2 mm long, with 15−45 pappus bristles

3  Blades entire to remotely toothed on margins, most leaves lanceolate to elliptic

4  Shrubs, distinctly woody; blades resinous but not drying black-dotted; fertile anthers with appendages 1.5−2 mm long; pappus of 20−25 bristles 4−4.5 mm long (staminate); corolla of pistillate flower 2.5−3.3 mm long .. Baccharis salicifolia subsp. salicifolia   [pics]

4′ Subshrubs, dying back to rhizome; blades viscid drying black-dotted; fertile anthers with appendages ± 1 mm long; pappus of 13−20 bristles 2.6−3 mm long (staminate); corolla of pistillate flower 2 mm long .. Baccharis glutinosa   [pics]

3′ Blades mostly serrate, with at least several obvious teeth, most leaves oblanceolate to oblong

5 Leafy evergreen shrubs; blades with to 13 teeth present base to tip; staminate heads with scattered bractlets (paleae) on receptacle; pollen white, pappus bristle on staminate flowers 3.5−4 mm long; pistillate heads 45−65-flowered .. Baccharis pilularis subsp. consanguinea   [pics]

5′ Shrubs with flexible green young stems and small leaves or appearing somewhat leafless; blades with < 6 teeth present only above midblade; staminate heads lacking bractlets on receptacle; pollen bright yellow, pappus bristles on staminate flowers 3 mm long; pistillate heads ± 26-flowered .. Baccharis sarothroides × B. pilularis   [pics]




1 Leaves simple and sessile; heads showy, 40−65 mm across, with 7−13 bright yellow ray flowers (neuter); corolla of ray flowers 15−29 × 6−13 mm .. Bidens laevis   [pics]

1′ Leaves pinnately 3- or 5-foliolate or -lobed and petiolate; heads not showy, to 12 mm across when with only disc flowers, ray flowers, if present, white

2  Plants typically with a pair of branches at each node; blades short-hairy becoming glabrescent; bracts of calyculus 6.5−24 mm long, conspicuously unequal with some appearing leafy; corolla of disc flower 4−5 mm long; cypselae of disc flowers to 7.5 mm long .. Bidens frondosa   [pics]

2′ Plants not with regular branching; blades short-strigose to short-villous on lower surface; bracts of calyculus 2.5−5 mm long, equal and linear to spatulate; corolla of disc flower ca. 2 mm long; cypselae of disc flowers 7.5−13(−16) mm long, of ray flowers 3−5 mm long .. Bidens pilosa   [pics]


Brickellia Ell.    BRICKELLBUSH


1  Leaves petiolate, blades generally 20−40 mm long, green; heads clustered on lateral branchlets; involucre narrowly cylindric < 3 mm wide, outer phyllaries puberulent and appressed .. Brickellia californica   [pics]

1′ Leaves sessile, blades 6−18 mm long, gray-white woolly; heads solitary and terminal on each branchlet; involucre subcylindric > 4 mm wide, outer phyllaries white-woolly and spreading to reflexed .. Brickellia nevinii   [pics]


Centaurea L.    STAR-THISTLE


1  Corolla bright yellow

2  Shoots with leaves to 250 mm long armed with weak spines and stems lacking decurrent wings; heads sessile or subsessile, subtended by large, leaflike bracts at principal forks .. Centaurea benedicta

2′ Shoots with leaves < 150 mm long, unarmed and with photosynthetic decurrent wings on stems; heads in terminal, open arrays lacking leafleaf bracts; spines only on involucre

3  Vertical wings on stems 1−2.5 mm wide; involucre at antheis 13−17 mm wide, long spines on phyllaries 10−25 mm long and yellow to straw-colored .. Centaurea solstitialis   [pics]

3′ Vertical wings on stems mostly 3−6 mm wide; involucre at anthesis 10−12 mm wide, long spines on phyllaries < 10 mm long and reddish purple .. Centaurea melitensis   [pics]

1′ Corolla lavender purple, blue, violet-blue, or light purple (white)

4  Spines absent on shoots and inflorescences; heads with 13−18 showy, bilateral, sterile marginal flowers, typically blue .. Centaurea cyanus   [pics]

4′ Spines present on phyllaries of involucre; heads 5−8 ± radial, sterile marginal flowers, typically purple .. Centaurea calcitrapa   [pics]


NB.  Centaurea benedicta (L.) L., BLESSED THISTLE, may be present on a restricted area in SH, but fertile material was not obtained during the study to confirm its presence in range and to describe the species for this treatment.


Chaenactis DC.    PINCUSHION


1  Plants 10−150(−200) cm tall; leaves 70−180 mm long, 1-pinnately compound with leaflets 2−3-pinnately dissected and ± 3-dimensional having lobes arching above the leaf plane, glandular-hairy and resinous-smelling; corollas white; pappus lacking .. Chaenactis artemisiifolia   [pics]

1′ Plants to 55 cm tall; leaves to 80 mm long, 1−2 pinnately divided and foliage with scattered glandular hairs because woolly hair; corollas yellow; pappus mostly of 4 scales to 4 mm long .. Chaenactis glabriuscula var. glabriuscula   [pics]


Cirsium Miller   THISTLE


(In Progress)


.. Cirsium brevistylum


.. Cirsium occidentale var. californicum   [pics]


.. Cirsium occidentale var. coulteri   [pics]


.. Cirsium occidentale var. occidentale   [pics]


.. Cirsium vulgare   [pics]


Cotula L.


1  Shoots pilose to villous, stems slender with pinnately dissected leaves; heads 2.8−6 mm across, flowers yellowish; weedy annual .. Cotula australis   [pics]

1′ Shoots glabrous, stems fleshy with lobed or toothed leaves having conspicuous closed sheaths; heads > 6 mm across, flowers bright yellow; brackish and freshwater shoreline perennial herb .. Cotula coronopifolia   [pics]


Deinandra Greene    TARWEED


1  Annuals, mostly 1-stemmed at base, 5−110 cm tall, with wiry stems; heads 8−17 mm across, with 5 ray flowers and typically 6 disc flowers, sets separated by bractlets (paleae) united as a 5-lobed cup; pappus scales on disc flowers, 0.5−1.2 mm long, white .. Deinandra fasciculata   [pics]

1′ Low shrubs with annual shoots 35−140 mm long, with brittle stems; heads 15−22 mm across, with 5−21 ray flowers and 18−35 disc flowers, having several series of bractlets (paleae) but not united as a cup; pappus scales of disc flowers 1−2.5 mm long, tawny .. Deinandra minthornii   [pics]


Dimorphotheca Moench


1  Annuals; glandular hairs with black heads on phyllaries and approaching involucre; ray flowers glossy orange (bright yellow) with blackish violet or dark dray-green at base of limb; cypselae dimorphic and glabrous, wedge-shaped to club-shaped, 3-sided, and 3.5−4.7 mm long (ray flowers) and strongly flattened obovate to heart-shaped and 5.5−7.5 mm long (disc flowers) .. Dimorphotheca sinuata   [pics]

1′ Trailing evergreen subshrubs; glandular hairs colorless or sometimes aging red approaching involucre; ray flowers mostly strong reddish purple, strong purple, or orchid (glistening white) and typically darker on lower surface of limb; cypselae monomorphic and rarely present, narrowly fusiform, 2−2.5 mm long, shallowly 10-ribbed with short hairs along ribs .. Dimorphotheca fruticosa   [pics]


Encelia Adans.    BRITTLEBUSH


1  Leaves bright green, canescent with scattered short, appressed hairs, strongly aromatic when crushed; heads most solitary on long peduncles; ray flowers 9-27, disc flowers dark purple; cypselae 4.5-6.5 mm long .. Encelia californica   [pics]

1′ Leaves most grayish green, densely tomentose, faintly aromatic when crushed; heads in arrays of 3-9; ray flowers in range 8-10, disc flowers orange-yellow; cypselae 3-5 mm long .. Encelia farinosa   [pics]




1  Heads showy with spreading bright yellow limbs of ray flowers, 16−32 mm across, on peduncles 50−70 mm long generally lacking bracts; involucre 10−18 mm wide, phyllaries ± equal; limbs of ray flowers (7−)10.5−13 mm long; flowering during spring .. Ericameria linearifolia   [pics]

1′ Heads yellow but rays flowers not conspicuous from a distance, 4−10 mm across, on peduncles < 30 mm long with several−many bracts; involucre < 7 mm wide, phyllaries unequal; limbs of ray flowers to 5 mm long; flowering summer or fall (also spring in E. pinifolia)

2  Shoots with tufts or arrays of axillary leaves; ray flowers 1−10

3  Axillary leaves few, helically alternate, and short; heads to 14-flowered with 1−3(−6) ray flowers and 6−8 disc flowers; phyllaries of inner 1−4 series < 1 mm wide .. Ericameria palmeri var. pachylepis   [pics]

3′ Axillary leaves many, often displayed initially in planar, alternate distichous arrays; heads > 15-flowered; phyllaries of inner 1−4 series ≥ 1 mm wide

4  Leaves of main shoots (5.5−)20−40 × 0.6−0.9 mm, leaves in flat arrays later diverging in various directions; involucre subtended by many phyllarylike bracts from peduncle to base of involucre; heads with 3−15 ray flowers and 11−15 disc flowers .. Ericameria pinifolia   [pics]

4′ Leaves of main shoots 4−16 × 0.5−0.7 mm; flat arrays ± persisting until axillary shoot grows out; involucre subtended by few phyllarylike bracts; heads with 2−6 ray flowers and 5−14 disc flowers .. Ericameria ericoides   [pics]

2′ Shoots lacking axillary leaves; ray flowers absent

5  Shoots whitish to yellow tomentose with matted hairs, appearing somewhat grayish, nearly leafless most of the year; involucre long-cylindric with phyllaries stacked in 5 vertical rows; heads with only (4−)5−6 disc flowers; corolla 7−9.5 mm long; cypselae to 7.5 mm long with pappus bristles ± 7 mm long .. Ericameria nauseosa var. mohavensis   [pics]

5′ Shoots glabrous to sparsely hairy, appearing green most of year; involucre obconic to short-cylindric with phyllaries helically alternate; heads with > 7disc flowers; cypselae 1.4−2.1 mm long with pappus bristles 2−5 mm long

6  Blades 9−45 × 0.7−1.1 mm; peduncles 1−5 mm long; locally heads with 8−10 disc flowers; corolla 4−5(−6) mm long; cypselae 0.5−0.7 mm wide .. Ericameria parishii var. parishii

6′ Blades 19−73 × 3−12 mm; peduncles 1−15 mm long; heads with 12−18 disc flowers; corolla 3.7−4.1 mm long; cypselae 0.7−0.9 mm wide .. Ericameria arborescens   [pics]




1  Perennial herbs, sparsely short-hairy to nearly glabrous; heads radiate, with 15−48 showy, pistillate ray flowers and 50+ bisexual disc flowers; involucre 5−6(−7) mm wide; limb of ray flower pink-purple to light purple, lavender, or bluish lavender, lobes of disc flower yellow .. Erigeron foliosus var. foliosus   [pics]

1′ Annuals, stiff-hairy; heads ± discoid, with many nonshowy, pistillate peripheral flowers and to 15 bisexual disc flowers; involucre 2.5−4 mm wide

2  Foliage densely short-hirsute and long-pubescent; heads at anthesis 3.5−4 mm across, with 100+ peripheral pistillate flowers and 6−15 central bisexual flowers; phyllaries lanceolate to narrowly triangular and ascending-pubescent along midvein; pappus bristles 3−3.7 mm long; corolla of central flower 3.2−3.3 mm long; pappus tawny in fruit displayed in a spheroid array 9−11 mm diameter .. Erigeron bonariensis   [pics]

2′ Foliage sparsely stiff-strigose or hirsute; heads at anthesis ca. 3 mm across, with 24−40 peripheral pistillate flowers and 10−15 central bisexual flowers; phyllaries linear and glabrous or sparsely strigose along midvein; pappus bristles 2.2−2.7 mm long; corolla of central flower 2.2−2.8 mm long; pappus whitish in fruit displayed in a spheroid array ca. 8 mm diameter .. Erigeron canadensis   [pics]


Eriophyllum Lag.   WOOLLY SUNFLOWER


1  Decumbent annuals, 2.5−5 cm tall; leaves to 8 × 4 mm, mostly 3-lobed above midblade; heads 3−4 mm across, with 5−7 ray flowers and 10−20 disc flowers; throat of disc flowers funnel-shaped; pappus of scales with fine tips .. Eriophyllum multicaule   [pics]

1′ Subshrubs, 20−160 cm tall; leaves 10−50 mm long, deeply 1−2-pinnately lobed; heads 7−9 mm across, with (4−)5(−6) ray flowers and (10−)18−20(−35) disc flowers; throat of disc flowers nearly cylindric; pappus of scales mostly with jagged tips .. Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum   [pics]


Helianthus L.    SUNFLOWER


1  Annuals; leaves in canopy helically alternate; blades broadly ovate to deltate, (35−)50−240 × (20−)30−180+ mm, with blade 1−2× petiole; heads 60−100+ mm across; involucre 18−70+ mm wide, with outer phyllaries 15−32 × 3−6(−10) mm; bractlets on receptacle (9−)12−15 mm long; filaments (fertile stamens) 4−4.5 mm long; cypselae (3−)4−6 × 2.3−2.7 mm, short-strigose to strigose .. Helianthus annuus   [pics]

1′ Shrubs to subshrubs; leaves in canopy opposite and alternate; blades acuminate-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 25−130 × 6−35 mm, with petiole to 28 mm long; heads 35−75 mm across; involucre 10−20 mm wide, with outer phyllaries 3.2−7.5 × 1.4−3.5 mm; bractlets on receptacle 4−7(−9) mm long; filaments (fertile stamens) 1.5−2 mm long; cypselae 2.7−3.8 × 1.3−1.5 mm, ± glabrous .. Helianthus gracilentus   [pics]


Heterotheca Cass.   GOLDENASTER


1  Annuals, often unbranched until canopy, having cauline leaves with clasping bases, the larger midstem blades 20–75(−90) × 5–35(–40) mm; heads 9−19 mm across, of 25−33 ray flowers and 20−40 disc flowers; corolla of ray flowers with limbs oblong, 5–6 × 1.2–1.5 mm; cypselae of ray flowers with minute appressed hairs and lacking pappus .. Heterotheca grandiflora   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs with several−many stems at base having cauline leaves without clasping bases, the larger leaves 8–45(–60) × 3–10 mm; heads 10−22 mm across, with 6−15 ray flowers and 20−50 disc flowers; corolla of ray flowers with limbs narrowly elliptic, 6.5–10.5 × 1.2–1.7 mm; cypselae of ray flowers silvery strigose and pappus of an outer whorl of slender scales and inner pappus of capillary bristles .. Heterotheca sessiliflora   [pics]


Hypochaeris L.   CAT’S EAR


1  Heads 7−14 mm across in flower and spheroidal pappus array 40−45 mm across in fruit; cypselae of outer flowers lacking beak, of inner flowers beak 6.7−7.7 mm long; pappus bristles of outer flower 90−95, of inner flowers 35−44, outer whorl of pappus bristles on each fruit barbed .. Hypochaeris glabra   [pics]

1′ Heads 5−7 mm across in flower and spheroidal pappus array 30−35 mm across in fruit; cypselae all having beaks 4−5.5 mm long; pappus bristles ca. 25, outer whorl of pappus bristles on each fruit lacking barbs .. Hypochaeris radicata   [pics]




1  Shrubs spreading to prostrate on seabluffs, typically 20−40 cm tall; leaves somewhat fleshy; blades mostly obovate (oblanceolate), 7−23(−38) × 3−10.5 mm, dentate to serrate; pappus bristles 35−65 in 1 whorl, 1−4.3 mm long; corolla tube 1.7−2 mm long and throat 2.5−2.7 mm long .. Isocoma menziesii var. sedoides   [pics]

1′ Shrubs and subshrubs ± erect, inland (above 50 m elevation); leaves not fleshy; corolla tube > 2.0 mm long

2  Blades mostly linear (oblanceolate to lanceolate), 6−30 × 1.3−7.2 mm, teeth < 5 and only approaching tip, essentially glabrous; corolla tube 2.6−3 mm and throat ca. 2.5 mm long; pappus bristles 40−50 in 2−3 whorls, 1−4.5 mm long .. Isocoma menziesii var. menziesii

2′ Blades obovate to oblanceolate, 7−48 × 2−14 mm, coarsely serrate base-to-tip, conspicuously hairy; corolla tube 2.5−3.5 mm long and throat 1.5−2.5 mm long; pappus bristles 62−73 in 3 whorls, 0.7−6.5 mm long .. Isocoma menziesii var. vernonioides   [pics]


Lasthenia Cass.    GOLDFIELDS


1  Plants glandular-hairy, viscid, and sweetly scented; blades mostly deeply pinnately dissected (unlobed and linear on short individuals); involucre with phyllaries free; pappus .. Lasthenia coronaria   [pics]

1′ Plants lacking glandular hairs and unscented; blades only unlobed and linear

2  Shoots essentially glabrous below and sparsely short-hairy upper portion and inflorescence; involucre with phyllaries fused at least 2/3, outer surface glabrous but with conspicuous ciliate lobe margins; pappus absent or reduced to tiny nobs .. Lasthenia glabrata subsp. coulteri   [pics]

2′ Shoots ± short-hairy and sometimes conspicuously so on upper portion and peduncles; involucre with phyllaries not fused, short-hairy on outer surface; pappus of 0−9 awnlike scales ± 1.5 mm long .. Lasthenia californica subsp. californica   [pics]




1  Thick-stemmed shrubs resembling miniature trees; leaves feathery and somewhat fleshy, mostly 80−250 mm long, when crushed mildly aromatic; heads 50−70 mm across, with > 120 disc flowers .. Leptosyne gigantea   [pics]

1′ Annuals; leaves finely dissected but not fleshy, < 80 mm long, when crushed not aromatic; heads < 50 mm across, with < 80 disc flowers

2  Plant essentially acaulous; leaves unlobed or having up to 3 threadlike lobes; heads only solitary, phyllaries 3.5−6.5 × 0.6−1.2 mm and aging dark reddish purple at tip; pappus absent or disc flower with 1−2 inconspicuous teeth, limb of ray flowers typically 6−7.7 × 5−5.5 mm; cypselae 3−4.5 mm long, yellowish to pale brown often with red dots or dashes .. Leptosyne californica   [pics]

2′ Plant branched and each shoot terminated by an inflorescence; leaves usually 2-pinnately lobed with up to 7 primary lobes; heads solitary or in cymelike arrays, phyllaries 5−12 × 1.3−2 mm; pappus absent or more commonly with 2 teeth or erect scales (especially on disc flowers), limb of ray flowers 10−17 × 5.4−10 mm; cypselae 4.5−7 mm long, frosted brown to dark brown and of disc flowers with whitish ciliate hairs on margins while also fused with base of palea and falling together .. Leptosyne bigelovii   [pics]


Logfia Cass.   COTTONROSE


1  Blades ± awl-like, 20−30(−40 × 1−1.5(−2) mm; phyllaries 5, equal; bractlets (paleae) subtending pistillate peripheral flowers ± vertical arranged; on bisexual flowers tips of corolla brownish to yellow .. Logfia gallica   [pics]

1′ Blades oblanceolate, 10−15(−20) × 2−3(−4) mm; phyllaries 0−5, unequal; bractlets (paleae) subtending pistillate peripheral flowers not vertically arranged (“spiral”); on bisexual flowers tips of corolla bright reddish to purplish .. Logfia filaginoides   [pics]


Madia Molina   TARWEED


1  Narrow-leaved, branched annuals, 5−30 cm tall; heads 4−5 mm across, with 5−8 ray flowers and 1(−2) disc flower; phyllaries ± 2 mm long, with conspicuous, stalked glandular hairs having golden yellow heads; corolla of ray flower 1.1−1.8 mm long, corolla of disc flowers 4-lobed; cypselae 1.5−2.2 mm long .. Madia exigua   [pics]

1′ Annuals mostly with 1 principal stem; heads 6+ mm across, with 5+ disc flowers; phyllaries mostly 6+ mm long; corolla of disc flowers 5-lobed; cypselae 3−3.8 mm long

2  Blades 10−25(−40) × 0.7−2 mm; heads showy, 17−47 mm across; ray flowers with fan-shaped, lobed, bright yellow limbs (4−)7−19 × 5−7 mm; receptacle conspicuously straight-puberulent .. Madia elegans   [pics]

2′ Blades 10−100+ × (1−)3+ mm; heads nonshowy, < 11 mm across; ray flowers with yellow to greenish yellow limbs < 6 mm long; receptacle glabrous

3  Flowering individual 35−210 cm tall, vegetative plant and inflorescence both densely glandular-pubescent and viscid; leaves ± concealing stem; head with 6−13 ray flowers and 12−36 disc flowers .. Madia sativa   [pics]

3′ Flowering individual 10−110 cm tall, lower plant mostly pilose to hirsute and canopy glandular-pubescent; leaves not concealing stem, velveteen, and mostly not resinous; head with 3−8(−10) ray flowers and 5−22 disc flowers .. Madia gracilis   [pics]




1  Annuals, to 45 cm tall; heads 6.5−8 mm across, light yellow; outer pappus whorl of short, inconspicuous triangular scales plus 1 smooth bristle ± 4.5 mm long, inner pappus whorl of ca. 20 erect, soft, barbed bristles .. Malacothrix clevelandii   [pics]

1′  Perennial herbs, 40−200+ cm tall; heads 20−43 mm across, white; outer pappus whorl a rim with minute teeth, inner pappus whorl of (15−)25−33 barbed bristles fused at bases .. Malacothrix saxatilis var. tenuifolia   [pics]


Microseris D. Don   SILVERPUFFS


(In Progress)


.. Microseris × heterocarpa   [pics]


.. Microseris × lindleyi   [pics]


.. Microseris douglasii subsp. tenella   [pics]


Pseudognaphalium Kirp.    EVERLASTING, CUDWEED


1  Blades green, at least on upper surface, at maturity; scented and obviously glandular-hairy

2  Leaves densely white-hairy on lower surface at maturity, glandular hairs with ± colorless heads

3  Leaves of midstem linear, shortly decurrent; involucres 6.5−7 × 3.5−5 mm, with phyllaries in 7−9 series; pappus bristles 4−4.5 mm long; corolla of bisexual flower 3.7−4 mm long .. Pseudognaphalium leucocephalum   [pics]

3′ Leaves of midstem lanceolate to oblanceolate, broadly lobed at leaf base (auriculate); involucres 5−6.5 × 3−3.5 mm, with phyllaries in 5−7 series; pappus bristles 3−3.5 mm long; corolla of bisexual flower ± 3.2 mm long .. Pseudognaphalium biolettii   [pics]

2′ Blades green on both surfaces at maturity, glandular hairs with yellowish heads aging red

4  Blades mostly oblanceolate and 3−24 mm wide; heads 4.5−6 mm across with 102−154 pistillate peripheral flowers and 7−11 bisexual central flowers; phyllaries white .. Pseudognaphalium californicum   [pics]

4′ Blades mostly lanceolate-linear and 2−7 mm long; heads 2−2.5 mm across with 36−46 pistillate peripheral flowers and 3−8 bisexual central flowers; phyllaries tinged with pink .. Pseudognaphalium ramosissimum   [pics]

1′ Blades white-hairy on both surfaces at maturity, not obviously to obscurely glandular-hairy and not aromatic or only mildly so

5  Annuals or biennial herbs 15−60 cm tall; heads with 140+ flowers; involucres < 4 mm long

6  Involucres 3−3.5 mm long, phyllary tips whitish faintly tinged with brown; heads with 5−10 bisexual central flowers; corolla with lobes red to rose-purple .. Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum   [pics]

6′ Involucres 4−6 mm long, phyllary tips yellow or straw-colored; heads with (8−)18−28 bisexual central flowers; corolla yellow .. Pseudognaphalium stramineum   [pics]

5′ Perennials to 100 cm tall; heads with < 60 flowers; involucres > 5 mm long .. Pseudognaphalium microcephalum   [pics]




1  Heads with conspicuous ray flowers

2  Shrubs or subshrubs with grayish, woolly-tomentose leaves with threadlike lobes; heads 25−40 mm across with 7−13(−21) ray flowers; corolla limbs of ray flowers (10–)11.7–18(–20) mm long .. Senecio flaccidus var. douglasii   [pics]

2′ Annuals with glabrous to sparsely hairy, deeply pinnately lobed leaves; heads < 25 mm across with mostly 3−10 ray flowers; corolla limbs or ray flowers 8−12 mm long .. Senecio californicus   [pics]

1′ Heads lacking ray flowers or ray flowers inconspicuous and not noticeably exceeding involucre

3  Heads with only bisexual disc flowers; bracts subtending inflorescence (calyculus) with dark purple to black tips .. Senecio vulgaris   [pics]

3′ Heads with bisexual disc flowers and other pistillate flowers

4  Annuals mostly 3−15 cm tall; foliage sparsely cobwebby-tomentose aging sparsely hairy to glabrescent; bracts subtending inflorescence (calyculus) with dark purple to black tips; heads with (3−)5(−6) inconspicuous pistillate ray flowers and 8–14 bisexual disc flowers .. Senecio aphanactis   [pics]

4′ Perennial herbs 45–100 cm tall; foliage densely white-woolly or cobwebby; bracts subtending inflorescence (calyculus) without dark tips; heads with 21−36 pistillate peripheral flowers having slender corollas and 7−13 bisexual disc flowers .. Senecio quadridentatus   [pics]


Solidago L.    GOLDENROD


1  Blades of lower leaves mostly narrowly elliptic, glabrous; involucre 4.5−5.5 mm wide at anthesis; disc flowers 7−27; cypselae ± 1 mm long, sparsely short-hairy .. Solidago confinis   [pics]

1′ Blades of lower leaves mostly obovate to oblanceolate, densely canescent to short-tomentose; involucre 3−4 mm wide at anthesis; disc flowers 7−10; cypselae ± 1.7 mm long, densely short-strigose along 5−7 ribs .. Solidago velutina subsp. californica   [pics]


Sonchus L.    SOW THISTLE


1  Shoots with stalked glands aging as prickles along stems and spinose margins on blades and bracts; basal lobes of blades rounded; heads 12−13 mm across; corolla 4−5.5 mm long, limb 2.5−3 × 1 mm; cypselae 3-sided and striped but smooth .. Sonchus asper   [pics]

1′ Shoots lacking prickles along stems, basal lobes of blades pointed; heads 15−26 mm across; corolla 8−13 mm long, limb 4−6 × 0.5 mm; cypselae 5-ribbed and grooved, minutely barbed .. Sonchus oleraceus   [pics]


Stephanomeria Nutt.    WIRELETTUCE


(In Progress)


.. Stephanomeria cichoriacea   [pics]


.. Stephanomeria diegensis   [pics]


.. Stephanomeria exigua subsp. coronaria   [pics]


.. Stephanomeria virgata   [pics]


Symphyotrichum Nees   ASTER


1  Annuals; blades linear to linear-lanceolate or narrowly oblanceolate, 60−120 × 2−14 mm; heads 5.5−6.5 mm across, with 27−38 ray flowers and 8−15 disc flowers; calyx (ray flowers) of 18−23 capillary bristles 2.4−3.5 mm long, corolla 0.5 mm wide, white to light purplish pink .. Symphyotrichum subulatum var. parviflorum   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs in clumps; blades oblanceolate, 80−100 × 8−15 mm; heads 26−34 mm across, with 17−23 ray flowers and 34−46 disc flowers; calyx (ray flowers) of 30−45 capillary bristles 3.5−7 mm long, corolla 1−2 mm wide, strong purple to light violet .. Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. hesperium   [pics]


Xanthium L.    COCKLEBUR


1  Stems unarmed, with black-purple spots; blades shallowly palmately lobed, finely serrate, and ± scabrous; burlike fruits 20−35 mm long .. Xanthium strumarium   [pics]

1′ Stems bearing 1 or 2, stalked 3-branched spines at base of petiole, lacking spots; blades pinnately lobed, coarsely toothed to entire, and soft-pubescent; burlike fruits ca. 10 mm long .. Xanthium spinosum   [pics]





Batis L.    SALTWORT


.. Batis maritima   [pics]





Berberis L.    BARBERRY


1  Leaves with mostly 3−5 leaflets (1−5), petioles 5−9 mm long, blades of leaflets 10−16 mm wide and glaucous grayish green; inflorescence a raceme with 3−8 flowers .. Berberis nevinii   [pics]

1′ Leaves with mostly 7−9 leaflets (3−9), petioles 10−50 mm long, blades of leaflets typically 20−50 mm wide and dark green, not glaucous; inflorescence a dense panicle of racemes, each raceme with 15−20+ flowers .. Berberis pinnata subsp. pinnata   [pics]





Alnus Miller.    ALDER


.. Alnus rhombifolia   [pics]





1  Ovary deeply 4-lobed, each lobe containing 1 ovule, potentially producing a dry fruit (to 4 nutlets, alternatively a 4-parted schizocarp); style arising in the center (between the ovary lobes) at the base (gynobasic style), lacking distinct branches (Boraginaceae, s.s.)

2  Nutlets with prominent spines

3  Shoots strigose to short-strigose with upward-pointing hairs; corolla 0.7−1.4 mm across; nutlets widely spreading at maturity and X-shaped, bearing hooked and straight bristles along edges of nutlets .. Pectocarya

3′ Shoots hirsute to hispid, or villous to short-villous with strigose hairs on lower surface of leaves (P. acanthocarpa); corolla 1.5−7.5 mm across; nutlets appressed and erect at maturity; bristles and other projections on back faces of nutlets .. Plagiobothrys (part)

2′ Nutlets smooth to patterned but lacking sharp projections

4  Corolla light yellow to yellow-orange .. Amsinckia

4′ Corolla white and often with yellow glands on throat

5  Inner face of nutlet with a longitudinal groove forked at the base .. Cryptantha

5′ Inner face of nutlet with a keel and a round or oval attachment scar .. Plagiobothrys (part)

1′ Ovary unlobed with 1 chamber (often appearing as 2), containing 4−many ovules, usually maturing as a dehiscent capsule; style arising at the tip of ovary and clearly 2-branched (exception Heliotropium)

6  Plants obviously woody; blades initially soft-hairy to velveteen aging stiff-hairy to hispid

7  Leaves large with blades (80−)150−350+ × 65−210+ mm; flowers 35−40 mm across .. Wigandia urens var. caracasana   [pics]

7′ Leaves with blades mostly lanceolate to elliptic, 25−215 × 5−50 mm; flowers < 15 mm across

8  Shoots rosettelike, on the newest growth bluish green leaves regularly spaced with very short internodes, not glandular-hairy; inflorescence a dense, lanceoloid panicle with crowded, short, lateral branches, 200−400 mm long; corolla slightly bilateral, blue .. Echium candicans   [pics]

8′ Shoots not rosettelike, grayish green leaves noticeably glandular-hairy and resinous (plant pleasantly aromatic); inflorescence a panicle of ascending cymes; corolla radial, violet to lavender with darker veins .. Eriodictyon crassifolium var. nigrescens   [pics]

6′ Plants herbaceous perennials or annuals

9  Shoots glabrous and with light green stems and blue-green glaucous leaves; panicle of 2−4, spikelike cymes with white flowers; fruits, when formed, smooth, ± ovoid nutlets (0−4) .. Heliotropium curassavicum var. oculatum   [pics]

9′ Shoots with some type or types of hairs, always nonglandular and often glandular hairs

10  Stems having recurved prickles .. Pholistoma

10′ Stems lacking recurved prickles

11  Calyx with reflexed appendages in the sinuses .. Nemophila

11′ Calyx lacking appendages in the sinuses

12  Flowers upright with light yellow corolla becoming persistent, papery, and tan-cream concealing a pendent capsule on a flexible pedicel .. Emmenanthe penduliflora var. penduliflora   [pics]

12′ Flowers not yellow, capsule not pendent

13  Shoots opposite decussate on lower plant and helically alternate above, glandular-hairy and pleasantly and strongly scented; flower white, 4−5.5 mm across .. Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia var. chrysanthemifolia   [pics]

13′ Shoots strictly helically alternate, glandular-hairy and scented or unscented; flower lavender, purple, violet, pink, blue, violet, to white (yellow only in throat), 6.5−45 mm across .. Phacelia


Amsinckia Lehm.    FIDDLENECK


1  Flowers 3−6 mm across, corolla 7−11 mm long and orange-yellow with lobes 1−2.5 mm long, anthers 1 mm long .. Amsinckia intermedia   [pics]

1′ Flowers ± 2.5 mm across, corolla 3−4.5 mm long and light yellow with lobes 0.6−0.9 mm long, anthers ± 0.5 mm long .. Amsinckia menziesii   [pics]


Cryptantha G. Don   POPCORNFLOWER


1  Corolla 1 mm across; calyx in fruit to 1.4 mm long with hooked hairs; nutlets dimorphic, 0.7−0.9 mm long, 3 minutely bumpy on outer face, 1 smooth at least below midpoint; shoots hirsute (not hispid) .. Cryptantha micromeres   [pics]

1′ Corolla 2+ mm across; calyx in fruit 2+ mm long without hooked hairs; nutlets monomorphic, 1.5−2 mm long; shoots at least hispid and sometimes with other types of stiff hairs

2  Corollas > 4 mm across; nutlets mostly 4, bumpy

3  Leaves mostly bright green and neither stems nor inflorescence axes with strigose hairs; corolla 5.5−9(−13) mm across; in fruit mature calyx 2× nutlets .. Cryptantha intermedia var. intermedia   [pics]

3′ Leaves dull dark green and inflorescence axes hispid with ascending hairs and also strigose; corolla 4.5−7.5 mm across; in fruit mature calyx 2.4−3.5 mm long .. Cryptantha muricata var. muricata   [pics]

2′ Nutlets typically 1(−2), smooth

4  Corolla 2.6−3.5 mm across; inflorescence axes with only strigose hairs; at anthesis exposed portion of style ± 1 mm long and increasing in fruit; nutlets glossy tan and sparsely mottled brown, calyx 2.0−2.7 mm long in fruit .. Cryptantha clevelandii var. clevelandii   [pics]

4′ Corolla 2−2.4 mm across; inflorescence axes with mixed strigose and radiating hairs; at anthesis style short and included and not increasing in fruit; nutlets glossy dark brown, calyx to 2 mm long in fruit .. Cryptantha microstachys   [pics]


NB.  There is one in-range report of Cryptantha barbigera (A. Gray) Greene, but it has not been confirmed and living materials were not available to produce a description for the flora. Cryptantha flaccida (Lehm.) Greene (WEAK-STEMMED CRYPTANTHA) also may be present in range.


Nemophila Nutt.


1  Leaves alternate (basal) and opposite (cauline), lobed blades 25−75 mm long; flowers 15−30 mm across, corolla dark blue to purplish blue without spots, dots, or lines, calyx appendages 1−2.5 mm long; capsules ca. 6.5 mm, never touching the ground, not purple before dehiscing .. Nemophila menziesii var. menziesii   [pics]

1′ Leaves strictly opposite decussate, lobed blades 6−15 mm long; flowers ca. 2 mm across, corolla whitish with tiny purple dots or lines, calyx appendages 0.2−0.4 mm long; capsules ca. 3.5 mm, at ground level on strongly recurved pedicel, purple before dehiscing .. Nemophila pedunculata   [pics]


Pectocarya DC.    COMB-BUR


1  Lower shoot short-strigose with most hairs < 0.5 mm long; flower and fruit ascending; lobes of fruit body with 20+ hooks clustered at tip .. Pectocarya penicillata   [pics]

1′ Lower shoot strigose with many hairs ± 1 mm long; flower initially ascending becoming nodding; lobes of fruit with hooked bristles at least from midpoint to tip .. Pectocarya linearis subsp. ferocula   [pics]


Phacelia Juss.


1  Perennials

2  Principal shoots unbranched or with lateral flowering branches from axils of lower cauline leaves, with grayish green leaves, hispid-hirsute, the nonglandular hairs to 5 mm long and straight, densely glandular-pubescent beneath firm hairs, not aromatic or viscid; flowers white with faint green veins .. Phacelia imbricata subsp. imbricata   [pics]

2′ Shoots branched and with widely spaced cauline leaves, with green leaves densely glandular-hairy through and sparsely to moderately hispid, the hispid hairs to 2.5 mm long, the glandular hairs mostly stalked with amber heads aging darker or losing head and appearing nonglandular; flowers lavender to pale lavender (whitish) .. Phacelia ramosissima   [pics]

1′ Annuals

3  Leaves compound with primary leaflets toothed or divided; capsules with 2−4 seeds

4  Flowers pale lavender to deep lavender or light purple; calyx lobes > 10 mm long in fruit and loosely enveloping capsule

5  Young ball-like cymes of 3−5 smaller clusters, hispid and sericeous, the hispid hairs with a purple ring around thick base; seeds 1.5−1.8 × 1.1−1.4 mm .. Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida   [pics]

5′ Young ball-like cymes 35−45 mm across of 5−8 smaller clusters, pilose-hirsute to 5 mm long lacking purple ring at base and densely puberulent; seeds 2.8−3.2 × 1.45−1.8 mm .. Phacelia hubbyi   [pics]

4′ Flowers violet to blue-violet or dark blue; calyx lobes < 10 mm long in fruit and appressed to capsule

6  Calyx at anthesis 5−6.2 mm long; anthers deep violet .. Phacelia distans   [pics]

6′ Calyx at anthesis 4−4.5 mm long; anthers pale yellow .. Phacelia tanacetifolia   [pics]

3′ Leaves simple with teeth or pinnately divided; capsules with 8+ seeds

7  Blades deeply pinnately lobed with lobes or teeth mostly opposite or subopposite; corolla white to purplish pink with a yellow tube .. Phacelia brachyloba   [pics]

7′ Blades ovate with teeth on margins; corollas not as above

8  Corolla dish-shaped, blue to violet with conspicuous darker veins (white); style branches at least 3/4 of length; appendages adjacent stamens absent; in fruit pedicels ≤ 10 mm

9  Corolla 18−45 mm across; filaments 13.5−20 mm long; style (15−)18−25 mm long .. Phacelia grandiflora   [pics]

9′ Corolla 10−14 mm across; filaments 3−5.5 mm long; style 3.5−4.2 mm long .. Phacelia viscida   [pics]

8′ Corolla widely to deeply bell-shaped; style branches ≤ 2/3 of length; appendages on stamens present; in fruit pedicels > 10 mm long

10  Calyx lobes 4.5−5.5 mm long increasing 3 mm in fruit; corolla widely bell-shaped to rotate, 10−17(−20) mm long, deep violet; filaments 6.5−15 mm long with anthers 2.7−3 mm long .. Phacelia parryi   [pics]

10′ Calyx lobes mostly 7−8 mm long increasing 3 mm in fruit; corolla deeply bell-shaped, (10−)18−33(−40) mm long; filaments (15−)19−34 mm long with anthers 2−2.5 mm long .. Phacelia minor   [pics]


NB.  Possible sightings in range, and needing confirmation, are Phacelia affinis A Gray, P. ciliata Benth., and P. egena (Brand) J. T. Howell, as well as former treatments of P. douglasii (Benth.) Torrey and P. longipes A. Gray.


Pholistoma Lilja    FIESTA FLOWER


1  Stems cylindric, leaves < 100 mm long; flowers 4−5 mm across, corolla ± 2.5 mm long with white lobes, filaments 1.2−1.4 mm long, style ± 1.5 mm long; capsules 4−5 mm long, typically 4−8-seeded .. Pholistoma racemosum   [pics]

1′ Stems 4-sided, leaves mostly 100−300 mm long; flowers 10−22 mm across, corolla 7−15 mm long with blue-lavender to light purple lobes, filaments 3.5−5 mm long, style 4−8 mm long; capsules 6−7 mm long, 1−4-seeded .. Pholistoma auritum var. auritum   [pics]


Plagiobothrys Fisch. & C. A. Meyer   POPCORNFLOWER


1  Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves and bractlets alternate; lower surface of blades strigose with blisterlike bases; calyx with some hairs pale brown; nutlets 4, vertical, with barbed prickles .. Plagiobothrys acanthocarpus   [pics]

1′ Leaves and bractlets all alternate; foliage never strigose; nutlets lacking barbed prickles

2  Foliage villous or ± short-villous; calyx at anthesis 2.5−3 mm long, with conspicuous rusty brown hairs

3  Blades 17−110 × 3.5−17 mm; bractlets absent or only present associated with the lowest flowers; flowers 5−7.5 mm across; nutlets 1−3, horizontal and firmly attached, 2−2.6 mm long, with calyx abscising around tube (circumscissile) .. Plagiobothrys nothofulvus   [pics]

3′ Blades 40−50 × 3−4(−7) mm; bractlets present throughout inflorescence; flowers 2−2.5(−3) mm across; nutlets (1−)3−4, vertical and weakly attached, 1.5−1.7 mm long, calyx persistent .. Plagiobothrys canescens var. canescens   [pics]

2′ Foliage ascending-hirsute; calyx at anthesis 1.5−2 mm long, rusty brown hairs absent; nutlets 3−4, vertical and weakly attached, 1.1−1.5 mm long .. Plagiobothrys collinus   [pics]





1  Siliqua length > 2.5× width; petals of various colors or white

2  Stamens > petals, filaments 19−28 mm long and subequal, long-pubescent to short-pilose at base; pistil stalked, the stalk (gynophore) at anthesis ± 10 mm long increasing to 15−19 mm long in fruit; flowers bright yellow .. Stanleya pinnata var. pinnata   [pics]

2′ Stamens < petals, filaments to 13.5 mm long, mostly dimorphic with outer pair shorter than inner whorl, glabrous; pistil not stalked or scarcely so in fruit

3  Shoots with branched hairs

4  Leaves 2−3-pinnately compound and dissected, sometimes also densely glandular-pubescent (Descurainia pinnata); petals 1−2.5 mm long, limbs bright yellow or light yellow .. Descurainia

4′ Leaves either all unlobed or at most pinnately lobed, never glandular-pubescent

5  Diminutive and acaulous annuals, having a narrow basal rosette and lacking cauline leaves; flowers ca. 1 mm across, with minute, white petals (to 0.6 mm long) rounded or notched at tip; siliquas ± elliptic in outline and slightly inflated, ± 8 × 2−2.5 mm long, densely pubescent with branched hairs .. Draba cuneifolia   [pics]

5′ Plants with cauline leaves

6  Blades of basal and cauline leaves pinnately dissected; flowers often appearing axillary or in several-flowered racemes; petals vivid yellow; siliquas (siliques) linear, 40−50 × 1.5−2 mm, sometimes twisted 90° at base, flattened ⊥ septum .. Tropidocarpum gracile   [pics]

6′ Cauline leaves always unlobed; flowers always in many-flowered racemes; siliquas never twisted at base

7  Petals pale yellow; plants 80−180 cm tall, having overlapping and clasping cauline leaves and a long raceme with straight, overlapping erect siliques, 65−85 × 1−1.3 mm .. Turritis glabra   [pics]

7′ Petals pigmented and colorful

8  Cauline leaves clasping; sepals and petals dark violet to dark purple; siliques lacking beak .. Boechera sparsiflora   [pics]

8′ Cauline leaves not clasping; petals light yellow, golden yellow, or light orange; siliques with beak .. Erysimum

3′ Shoots glabrous or having only unbranched hairs

9  Fruits indehiscent, halves not separating lengthwise along septum, some breaking transversely into 1-seeded segments

10  Leaves with large, coarse lobes and thick petioles and principal veins conspicuously raised on lower surface of blades; flowers with petals varied within population from light purple and lavender and other shades, sometimes white or pale yellow, often with prominent venation on limbs; fruits drying as a hard, lanceoloid unit bulging at seeds with thick fruit wall and a long-tapered beak, in certain species breaking into 1-seeded segments; weeds of disturbed habitats .. Raphanus

10′ Leaves with linear lobes or only low-toothed, somewhat fleshy; flowers light purple, lavender, purplish, to white; fruits breaking into a larger upper segment and a persistent lower segment; plants restricted to sand dunes .. Cakile

9′ Fruits dehiscent, halves separating lengthwise along septum

11  Flowers yellow or yellowish

12  Stigma obviously 2-lobed

13  Leaves ill-smelling, lower surface of blade with many raised glands visible (7×); petals 5−7 mm long, clawed with a lemon yellow limb; silique stalked to 1 mm, (12−)20−45 mm long including beak 1−2 mm long, with midvein on each valve, glabrous .. Diplotaxis tenuifolia

13′ Leaves not ill-smelling, lower surface of blade lacking raised glands; petals various shades of white (white); silique lacking stalk, with or without beak, midvein on each valve not conspicuous, glabrous or long-hairy .. Sisymbrium

12′ Stigma capitate or inconspicuously 2-lobed

14  Flowers tiny with sepals 1.8−2.3 mm long and petals 1.3−1.9 mm long; siliques short, sausage-shaped, 5.5−10 × 1.8−2 mm (including stout beak) .. Rorippa curvisiliqua   [pics]

14′ Flowers larger with longer sepals and petals; siliques 10+ mm long

15  Siliques erect and appressed to inflorescence axis, < 18 mm long (including beak)

16  Foliage scabrous, hirsute to short-strigose; anthers in bud with deep purple spot at tip; beak ridged, with seed .. Hirschfeldia incana   [pics]

16′ Foliage hispid on lower leaves but ± glabrous above midplant; anthers in bud only yellow; beak 1.3−3 mm long, but neither ridged nor containing a seed .. Brassica nigra   [pics]

15′ Siliques not appressed to inflorescence axis, 25+ mm long (including beak)

17  Foliage glossy green; flowers 5−6 mm across; petals not clawed, 3.5−5 mm long; silique beak absent .. Barbarea orthoceras   [pics]

17′ Foliage of rosette leaves ± hispid; flowers 6−11 mm across; petals clawed, 5.3−10 mm long; siliques with beak .. Brassica (part)

11′ Flowers not yellow

18  Siliques strongly reflexed or not; petals not clawed, white to cream-colored or with greenish yellow veins, sometimes reddish purple .. Caulanthus

18′ Siliques spreading, ascending, or erect; petals clawed

19  Aquatic herbs with pinnately compound leaves, forming roots at nodes; flowers white; siliques ± cylindric, 10−17 × 2.2−3 mm .. Nasturtium officinale   [pics]

19′ Herbs, not aquatic, with 3-foliolate to pinnately compound leaves, never forming roots at nodes; flowers pale lavender to pinkish or white; siliques opening elastically by valves coiling upward from base .. Cardamine

1′ Siliqua length < 2.5× width and strongly compressed to flat (silicles); petals white (absent), sometimes pale yellow

20  Silicles abscising into 2 distinct halves ⊥ flat surface

21  Hairs mostly branched; silicle triangular with pointed base and broad top, many-seeded .. Capsella bursa-pastoris   [pics]

21′ Hairs unbranched; silicle roundish with notch at top or at top and bottom, 2-seeded .. Lepidium

20′ Silicles not abscising ⊥ flat or compressed surface

22  Perennial herbs; shoots with only cauline leaves, hairs T-shaped with 2 arms appressed to surfaces; flowers strongly honey-scented; silicles several-seeded and dehiscent, compressed-ovoid to ellipsoid, 3.3−4 × 1.7−2 mm .. Lobularia maritima   [pics]

22′ Annuals; hairs not T-shaped with appressed arms

23  Silicle several−many-seeded and dehiscing; hairs on shoot mostly unbranched but with scattered branched hairs

24  Plants 13−70 cm tall; petals pale yellow; silicle compressed-obovoid, 3.5−5(−7) × 2−4(−5) mm .. Camelina microcarpa

24′ Plants < 18 cm tall; petals white; silicle cylindric, (8−)10−15 × 5−8 mm .. Arabidopsis thaliana

23′ Silicle 1-seeded and indehiscent

25  Shoots glabrous or with scattered, unbranched hairs; silicles 2.5+ mm long, with a circular wing sometime perforated .. Thysanocarpus

25′ Shoots with mostly branched; silicles 1−2.5 mm long, lacking an encircular wing and bearing hooked hairs .. Athysanus pusillus   [pics]


Brassica L.    MUSTARD


1  Plants with well-developed basal rosette when in flower; petals typically 5.3−6.5 mm long, pale light yellow; siliquas mostly spreading .. Brassica tournefortii   [pics]

1′ Plants appearing to have only cauline leaves when in flower; petals 9−13 mm long, bright yellow; siliquas ascending to erect

2  At least upper cauline leaves conspicuously clasping and glaucous; pedicels at maturity > 12 mm long; claw of petal winged base to top, stigma often visible or slightly exserted prior to anthesis; siliquas 32−53 mm long (incl. beak 11−15 mm long) .. Brassica rapa   [pics]

2′ Cauline leaves neither clasping nor noticeably glaucous; pedicels at maturity 5−6 mm long and appressed to rachis; claw of petal winged only at base, stigma not visible prior to anthesis; siliquas < 20 mm long (incl. short beak) .. Brassica nigra   [pics]


Cakile Miller    SEA ROCKET


1  Lower leaves deeply pinnately lobed; petals clawed, 8−14 mm long, light purple to lavender (deep purple, white); upper segment of siliqua  inversely urn-shaped to spheroid, 8−16 mm long, with conic to cylindric beak, lower segment with a pair of lateral lobes .. Cakile maritima   [pics]

1′ Lower leaves toothed to shallowly lobed, never deeply pinnately lobed; petals present or absent, not clawed, (4.5−)6−8 mm long, purplish to white; upper segment of siliqua inversely top-shaped and 4-angled, 12−24 × 5−9 mm, with very short, blunt beak, lower segment 4-angled and lacking lateral lobes .. Cakile edentula var. edentula


Cardamine L.    TOOTHWORT


1  Perennial herb, with 1 separate, basal leaf arising from a thickened rhizome, blades of leaflets 20−80 mm long; flowers showy, petals 11−13 mm long; siliquas 40−45 mm long .. Cardamine californica   [pics]

1′ Annual, with basal rosette and taproot, blades of leaflets 3−20 mm long; flowers not conspicuous, petals 2−4 mm long; siliquas 10−25 mm long .. Cardamine oligosperma   [pics]




1  Cauline leaves petiolate, petioles to 10 mm long and channeled; flowers 3−4 mm across; sepals 2.7−3.2 × 0.8−1 mm; petals 3−4.5 mm long, white to cream-colored, faintly veined; beak on siliquas short or absent .. Caulanthus lasiophyllus   [pics]

1′ Cauline leaves sessile and with clasping blade bases (auricles) 4 mm long; flowers 8−9 mm across; sepals 6.5−8.5 × 2 mm; petals 11−13.5 mm long, yellowish, conspicuously pinnately veined, the veins purple and green; beak on siliquas ca. 2.5 mm long .. Caulanthus heterophyllus   [pics]


Descurainia Webb & Berthel.   TANSY MUSTARD


1  Shoots with stalked glandular hairs among branched nonglandular hairs, foliage grayish green and densely hairy; pedicels at anthesis 3−5 mm long; petals 1.5−2 mm long; filaments 1.3−1.6 mm long; siliquas fusiform-elliptic, 5−12 × 1.5−2 mm .. Descurainia pinnata subsp. brachycarpa   [pics]

1′ Shoots lacking glandular hairs among branched nonglandular hairs, foliage green and sparsely hairy; pedicels at anthesis 7−8 mm long; petals 2.4−2.5 mm long; filaments 2.6−3.3 mm long; siliquas linear, 15−31 × 0.9 mm .. Descurainia sophia   [pics]


Erysimum L.    WALLFLOWER


1  Subshrub with many branches at base, to 35 cm tall; principal blades < 80 × 1.3−3.5 mm; flowers ± 15 across, bright yellow; siliqua 30−85 mm long including beak ca. 1 mm .. Erysimum suffrutescens   [pics]

1′ Herb (biennial) with 1 dominant shoot, 30−115 cm tall; principal blades > 80 × 5.5−16 mm; flowers 20−25 mm across, golden yellow to light orange; siliqua typically 80−145 mm long including beak 1.5−3 mm long .. Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum   [pics]




1  Perennial herbs

2  Plants 20−55 cm tall; shoots uniformly puberulent with arching hairs; leaves clasping with basal lobes; petals 1.3−2(−2.3) mm long; siliquas (silicles) heart-shaped with glabrate valves .. Lepidium draba   [pics]

2′ Plants 60−120(−200) cm tall; shoots villous to ± glabrous; leaves not clasping; petals ± 3 mm long; siliquas (silicles) round with sparsely villous valves .. Lepidium latifolium   [pics]

1′ Annuals

3  Pedicels noticeably flattened in fruit

4  Siliquas 5−5.5 mm long with two acute wings at top; notch between wings narrow and ca. 2 mm deep .. Lepidium latipes   [pics]

4′ Siliquas roundish in outline; notch short

5  Siliquas glabrous, 3.5−5.4 × 3.3−4.5 mm; stamens 2−4 .. Lepidium nitidum   [pics]

5′ Siliquas pubescent, 3−3.5(−4) × 2.8−3 mm; stamens 2 .. Lepidium lasiocarpum subsp. lasiocarpum   [pics]

3′ Pedicels ± cylindric to slightly flattened in fruit

6  Siliquas lobed top and bottom, 1.7−2 × 3 mm, initially valves beadlike becoming netlike .. Lepidium didymum   [pics]

6′ Siliquas lobed only at top; valves ± smooth or drying slightly veined

7  Siliquas 3.5−4 mm long .. Lepidium pinnatifidum

7′ Siliquas 2−3 mm long

8  Cauline leaves pinnately divided to cut-lobed; sepals persistent until fruit almost mature .. Lepidium strictum   [pics]

8′ Cauline leaves entire to somewhat jagged-toothed .. Lepidium virginicum subsp. menziesii   [pics]


NB.  Lepidium appelianum Al-Shehbaz, formerly Cardaria pubescens (C. A. Meyers) Rollins, was reported in range but was not encountered during the study and living material was unavailable to produce a description.  This species differs in small ways from L. draba, formerly also treated as a species of Cardaria.


We have no confidence that all species of Lepidium occurring in range have been found.  Because lepidiums are small and weedy, they are unlikely to draw much attention.  Moreover, distinguishing the species can also be challenging because parts are small and features often used for separating species have qualitative and phenologic components that raise issues in final decisions.


Raphanus L.    RADISH


1  Basal leaves 7−16-lobed, petioles of large leaves 50−120 mm long; petals light yellow to white (occasionally reddish purple), anthers 2.8−3.5 mm long; siliquas 3.5−5 mm wide, conspicuously constricted between seeds (torulose), with slender beak to 17 mm long, horizontally breaking into 1-seeded segments; seeds tannish .. Raphanus raphanistrum   [pics]

1′ Basal leaves 4−8-lobed, petioles of the largest leaves < 50 mm long; petals reddish purple (occasionally white, never yellow), anthers 2.3−3 mm long; siliquas 6−8 mm wide, not constricted between seeds, with conic beak, not breaking into 1-seeded segments; seeds cinnamon brown to golden buff .. Raphanus sativus   [pics]


Sisymbrium L.


1  Siliquas erect and appressed to inflorescence axis, 9−17 mm long, beak 1.3−3 mm long .. Sisymbrium officinale   [pics]

1′ Siliquas ascending to widely spreading from inflorescence axis, > 35 mm long

2  Leaves ± glabrous; flowers 3−4 mm across, stamens ± equal; siliquas 35−50 × 1 mm, beak 0−0.4 mm long .. Sisymbrium irio   [pics]

2′ Leaves pilose-hirsute to villous; flowers 7−10 mm across; stamens dimorphic; siliqua > 55 mm long

3  Uppermost cauline leaves conspicuously pinnately lobed; siliquas lacking beak .. Sisymbrium altissimum   [pics]

3′ Uppermost cauline leaves unlobed; siliqua beak club-shaped to bulbous, 1−1.5 mm long .. Sisymbrium orientale   [pics]


Thysanocarpus Hooker    LACEPOD, FRINGEPOD


1  Plants 2.5−12 cm tall, often senescing light purple; flowers 4.5−6 mm across, petals 2.4−2.9 mm long; siliquas 2.5−3.4 mm across, wing conspicuously lobed with deep sinuses and lobes brilliantly deep purplish red (brown when dry) .. Thysanocarpus conchuliferus   [pics]

1′ Plants 10−60 cm tall, green or purplish red; flowers 1−1.5 mm across, petals ca. 1 mm long; siliquas typical 4−8 mm across, wing shallowly lobed, sometimes with perforations, but never deep purplish red on wings (scarious when dry)

2  Basal leaves pinnately dissected with several slender lobes, leaves typically not clasping stem; siliquas mostly glabrous, with beak 0.4−0.6 mm long .. Thysanocarpus laciniatus var. laciniatus   [pics]

2′ Basal leaves several-toothed, leaves clasping stem; siliquas mostly densely short-hairy on faces, with beak 0.4−2 mm long .. Thysanocarpus curvipes   [pics]





Tillandsia L.    AIRPLANT


.. Tillandsia usneoides   [pics]





1  Stems (joints) cylindric, terminal young joints with conspicuously raised mounds (tubercles); spines having surface separate as a papery, deciduous sheath .. Cylindropuntia

1′ Stems (joints) strongly flattened, terminal young joints tubercles low or inconspicuous; spines lacking papery, deciduous sheath .. Opuntia


Cylindropuntia Knuth   CHOLLA


1  Terminal stem segments (joints) typically 150−300 × 15−30 mm, tubercles 15−30 mm long; inner perianth segments yellow; fruits solitary, containing seeds ca. 5 mm long .. Cylindropuntia californica var. parkeri   [pics]

1′ Terminal stem segments (joints) typically 40–150 × 27–35 mm, tubercles 10−15 mm long; inner perianth segments rose-magenta; fruits often in chains of 2−5, never containing seeds .. Cylindropuntia prolifera   [pics]




1  Flattened stem segments (cladodes) lacking radial spines

2  Low cespitose plant with blue-green and purplish cladodes at ground level, surface glaucous and minutely papillate; flowers brilliant purple-pink; berris dry and brown, to 25 mm long .. Opuntia basilaris var. basilaris   [pics]

2′ Large shrub to tree with large green cladodes, surface smooth; flowers bright yellow; berries juicy and vibrant magenta, mostly 67−100 mm long .. Opuntia ficus-indica   [pics]

1′ Flattened stem segments (cladodes) with radial spines on most areoles

3  Radial spines < 33 mm long, translucent yellow turning red-brown to brown on young cladodes; inner perianth segments yellow but blushed rose from the back and aging orangish, outer filaments 11−12 mm long to inner ones 4.5−5 mm long and orange-yellow, style crimson red to deep rose; berry with clusters of tannish glochids and darker deciduous spines to 15 mm long .. Opuntia oricola   [pics]

3′ Longest radial spine of most areoles commonly > 30 mm long, not initially translucent yellow; inner perianth segments bright yellow or orange-yellow, outer filaments > 12 mm long and mostly yellow or with green at base, style mostly rose or pink; berry with clusters of brownish glochids and with or without diminutive, fine radial spines

4  Plants typically individual and not in clumps or large clones; cladodes mostly roundish to broadly elliptic in outline with only 2−4 radial spines per areole, the longest spine slender, mostly 45−55 mm long, and brown at base; inner perianth segments 40−45 × 27−34 mm and orange-yellow; berries short-obovoid (lacking a narrow neck below seed chamber); seeds 5−5.5 mm diameter including protruding girdle 1 mm .. Opuntia phaeacantha   [pics]

4′ Plants typically in clumps or large clones; cladodes mostly obovate in outline with up to 11 radial spines per areole, the longest spine thick, < 40 mm long, and yellowish at base; inner perianth segment mostly bright yellow; berries obovoid with a neck below seed chamber; seeds typically < 5 mm long including protruding girdle ± 0.5 mm

5  Plants typically < 120 cm tall; innermost stamen filaments 10−13 mm long; style 27−28 × 9−9.5 mm, pink or with white base .. Opuntia littoralis   [pics]

5′ Plants < 100−160 cm tall; innermost stamen filaments > 5−12 mm long; style < 9 mm diameter, rose to pink; plants having various combinations of cladode shapes and spination on cladodes and berries of various species interspecific hybrids and backcrosses ......[Opuntia littoralis × O. oricola (in SH also × O. phaeacantha)]





1  Flowers radial

2  Spike with sessile flower in axil of leaflike bractlet, lower flowers cleistogamous and upper flowers potentially chasmogamous

3  Blades round to broadly ovate or obovate, 2−6.5 mm long; sepals leaflike, widely triangular; corolla 3−5 mm long .. Heterocodon rariflorum   [pics]

3′ Blades widely lanceolate to ovate or elliptic, 5−15(−30) mm long; sepals not leaflike, narrowly triangular; corolla 5−10 mm long .. Triodanis biflora   [pics]

2′ Flower terminal on a shoot, just above a leaflike bract and with an axillary shoot forming a sympodial stem; sepals spreading from top of ovary 4−8 mm; corolla lobes blue-lavender .. Githopsis diffusa   [pics]

1′ Flowers bilateral

3  Perennial herbs with rhizomes of shady canyons in wet substrate; flowers 18−20 mm long and tubular, 2-lipped, lavender-blue to violet corolla .. Lobelia dunnii var. serrata   [pics]

3′ Wispy annual on open ground; flowers several mm long with corolla tube to 1 mm long, 5-lobed, white with reddish purple veins .. Nemacladus ramosissimus   [pics]





1  Flowers 5−6 mm long; corolla regularly 5-lobed and radially symmetric; berries white .. Symphoricarpos mollis   [pics]

1′ Flowers 12−18 mm long; corolla strongly 2-lipped and bilaterally symmetric; berries cherry red to yellow-orange or deep purple .. Lonicera


Lonicera L.    HONEYSUCKLE


1  Twining woody climber; leaves at certain nodes with blades fused across node (perfoliate) and other nodes with a pair of leaflike outgrowths formed on node; petioles glabrous; flowers 6 per node .. Lonicera hispidula

1′ Shrub often somewhat scandent but not twining; leaves never perfoliate or with leaflike outgrowths on node; petioles conspicuously short-hairy; flowers 2 per node .. Lonicera subspicata var. denudata   [pics]





1  Leaves predominantly alternate, densely short-hirsute with a mixture of stiff hairs and shorter soft hairs, appearing gray-green .. Herniaria hirsuta var. cinerea   [pics]

1′ Leaves opposite

2  Blades slender, needlelike, or linear, fleshy or nonfleshy

3  Mat-forming with dense branching; flowers inconspicuous with 5 helically arranged sepals

4  Perennials on seacoast; shoots woolly-tomentose with reflective stipules; sepals awn-tipped; fruit a utricle .. Cardionema ramosissimum   [pics]

4′ Annuals on bare ground; shoots glandular-hairy; stipules hairlike (setae) 0.4−0.6 mm long; fruit a capsule with several−12 seeds .. Loeflingia squarrosa   [pics]

3′ Plants not mat-forming, having spreading to ascending shoots, with or without tufts of young leaves on unexpanded axillary shoots; flowers with conspicuous petals

5  Leaves somewhat fleshy, stipules scarious; stamens 2−10 .. Spergularia

5′ Leaves not fleshy; stamens 10

6  Leaves appearing whorled; glandular-pubescent; stipules scarious; flowers 7−8 mm across with white petals and 5 styles .. Spergula arvensis   [pics]

6′ Leaves obviously opposite; glabrous; stipules absent

7  Diminutive, delicate annuals; leaves 3−11 mm long; petals ca. 1 mm long; styles 5 .. Sagina decumbens subsp. occidentalis   [pics]

7′ Springtime annuals; leaves 6−30(−40) mm long; petals ± 7 mm long and short-clawed; styles 3 .. Minuartia douglasii   [pics]

2′ Blades flattened

8  Calyx tubular with sepals united nearly to their summit .. Silene

8′ Calyx not tubular (sepals free)

9  Stipules present and scarious; sepals keeled; petals not notched or lobed .. Polycarpon

9′ Stipules absent; petals, if present, notched or lobed

10  Leaves conspicuously pilose; fruit a cylindric capsule dehiscent by 10 teeth .. Cerastium glomeratum   [pics]

10′ Leaves not pilose; fruit not as above

11  Petals small or absent; stamens 1−5(−8) with short filaments; capsule longitudinally dehiscent by valves .. Stellaria

11′ Petals showy; stamens 10 in 2 whorls with filaments ca. 5 mm long; capsule dehiscent by 4 teeth .. Gypsophila elegans   [pics]




1  Leaves appearing to be in whorls of 4 (= a pair of cauline leaves and a pair of leaves on axillary shoot); stipules 1.8−2.8 mm long; sepals 1.5−2.5 mm long, keeled .. Polycarpon tetraphyllum subsp. tetraphyllum   [pics]

1′ Leaves appearing on opposite; stipules 0.4−1.2 mm long; sepals 1−1.5 mm long, flat or scarcely keeled .. Polycarpon depressum   [pics]




1  Perennial herbs; filaments 14+ mm long

2  Shoots sparsely short-hairy to midplant becoming densely glandular-pubescent above and in inflorescence; flowers 23−29 mm across; petals scarlet, with 3−4 lobes .. Silene laciniata subsp. laciniata   [pics]

2′ Shoots and inflorescence densely glandular-pubescent and ± viscid; flowers 10−12 mm across; petals whitish to greenish or pale rose, 2-lobed .. Silene verecunda   [pics]

1′ Annuals; filaments 3−8.5 mm long

3  Calyx conspicuously 16−25(−40)-veined; flower at anthesis 4 mm diameter, but calyx becoming greatly inflated in fruit .. Silene coniflora   [pics]

3′ Calyx typically 10-veined; flower 5−8.5 mm across

4  Shoots densely puberulent at base to ± glabrous above midplant but with viscid bands of glandular hairs on upper internodes and inflorescences .. Silene antirrhina   [pics]

4′ Shoots firm villous and short-villous replaced in canopy by glandular hairs and viscid; calyx 8−10 mm long; filaments 6−8.5 mm long .. Silene gallica   [pics]


Spergularia J. Presl & C. Presl   SAND-SPURREY


1  Perennials; stamens 7−10

2  Sepals 2.5−4 mm long increasing to 5 mm in fruit; petals white; styles 0.4−0.6 mm long .. Spergularia villosa   [pics]

2′ Sepals 4.5−7 mm long increasing to 8 mm in fruit; styles 0.6−3 mm long

3  Petals white .. Spergularia macrotheca var. leucantha

3′ Petals deep rose to reddish purple .. Spergularia macrotheca var. macrotheca   [pics]

1′ Annuals

4  Foliage without glandular hairs; stamens 8−10 .. Spergularia bocconi   [pics]

4′ Foliage and inflorescence with glandular hairs; stamens 2−5 .. Spergularia marina   [pics]




1  Stems weak and with a longitudinal line of hairs (also pedicels), leaves typically petiolate; blades of upper leaves ovate to broadly elliptic, 1.5−28 mm wide

2  Outer sepals typically hairy; petals 1.5−2.8 mm long (absent); stamens 3(−5 or 8); seeds ± 0.6 mm thick, reddish or purplish brown .. Stellaria media   [pics]

2′ Outer sepals with hairs along keel; petals generally absent; stamens (1−)2−3; seeds 0.4−0.55 mm thick, cinnamon to yellowish ochre .. Stellaria pallida   [pics]

1′ Stems wiry and lacking a longitudinal line of hairs, leaves typically sessile, blades of upper leaves oblanceolate to narrowly lanceolate and 0.5−3 mm wide; outer sepals typically glabrous, petals 0.5−1.3 mm long .. Stellaria nitens   [pics]





Ceratophyllum L.   HORNWORT, COONTAIL


.. Ceratophyllum demersum





1  Shoots fleshy, with opposite decussate leaves, constricted at nodes and appearing jointed, the leaves with decurrent base and diminutive, scalelike blades; flowers (1−)2−3(−5) mostly hidden by scalelike bracts but with exserted anthers or styles

2  Shoots always < 4 mm diameter; spikelike inflorescence tip with several sterile nodes; seeds glabrous .. Arthrocnemum subterminale   [pics]

2′ Shoots aging > 4 mm diameter; spikelike inflorescence lacking sterile nodes at tip; seeds hairy, the hairs curved to hooked, 1−2 mm long .. Salicornia

1′ Stems not jointed; blades of leaves at least 5 mm long, not scalelike; flowers produced in noticeable terminal or axillary, ±sessile clusters (glomes)

3  Blades planar and not noticeably fleshy, sometimes covered with water-filled, bladderlike hairs (vesicular hairs in Atriplex)

4  Flowers bisexual; blades toothed but not deeply lobed or dissected

5  Plants not glandular-hairy, relatively unscented; blades toothed but not deeply lobed or dissected

6  Shoot and inflorescence essentially glabrous; flowers with basal portion embedded in glome axis, so ovary partially inferior, aging as a rocklike structure including (1−)2−3(−5) achenes .. Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima   [pics]

6′ Shoot and inflorescence either glabrous or with ephemeral hairs becoming mealy on surface (farinose); flowers not embedded in glome axis, ovary superior, aging as utricle with separable seed or achene in which fruit coat not easily separated from seed .. Chenopodium

5′ Plants densely glandular-hairy throughout, strongly medicinal in fragrance; blades pinnately lobed and dissected; flowers with ovary superior and not embedded in glome axis; utricle with 1 seed .. Dysphania

4′ Flowers unisexual; staminate flowers in dense glomes; pistillate flower enclosed by 2 appressed bractlets .. Atriplex

3′ Blades somewhat fleshy, linear, cylindric, awl-shaped, to lanceolate

7  Highly branched, 3-dimensional annua,l aging spinescent; blades and bracts subtending flowers ± half-cylindric and linear with sharp point at tip becoming rigid and appearing awl-shaped; flowers inconspicuous in leaf axils, developing with conspicuous, scarious wings (sepals) .. Salsola

7′ Foliage not spinescent, dense along stems with short internodes and tufts of leaves on unexpanded axillary shoots; flowers in axillary glomes on terminal portion of shoots

8  Shoots sparsely to densely pilose to tomentose often aging glabrate; calyx pilose, forming 5 reddish, hooked arms surrounding fruit .. Bassia hyssopifolia   [pics]

8′ Shoots glabrous to short-pubescent; calyx glabrous to short-pubescent, lacking hooked arms 1−2 mm long surrounding fruit .. Suaeda


Atriplex L.    SALTBUSH


1  Shrubs with well-developed woody axes; dioecious

2  Blades narrow, 1.5−7 mm wide

3  Blades mostly 4−25 mm long; fruit bracteoles broadly torch-shaped, 5−7 mm long, becoming bony and fleshy, utricle easily removed .. Atriplex amnicola   [pics]

3′ Blades mostly 25−50(−73) mm long; fruit structure prominently 4-winged, at maturity 9−11.5 mm long, conspicuously veiny on faces and toothed along wings; fruit firmly fused to bracteoles .. Atriplex canescens var. canescens   [pics]

2′ Blades ± ovate to triangular with basal lobes, 5−41 mm wide; fruit bracteoles ± oval horizontally, 3.5−4 mm wide; leafy shoots often spine-tipped .. Atriplex lentiformis   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs, subshrubs, or annuals; monoecious or dioecious

4  Annuals, potentially robust where receiving extra water or nutrients; blades often with teeth but also entire

5  Foliage green or greenish on both surfaces (glabrescent)

6  Leaves and branching mostly opposite to subopposite below canopy, petiolate; blades triangular to deltate or arrow-shaped, 30−75 × 10−90 mm and thin; fruiting bracteoles triangular and free nearly from base .. Atriplex prostrata   [pics]

6′ Leaves and branching mostly helically alternate, subsessile; blades lanceolate to elliptic or oblong, 8.5−21.5(−30) × 2−5.5(−12) mm, foul-smelling; fruiting bracteoles ovate to rhombic and fused at least 2/3, with teeth on free portion, aging dark brown to blackish .. Atriplex serenana   [pics]

5′ Foliage bluish gray, somewhat glaucous and with moderate to dense cover of collapsed hairs; leaves ovate or obovate to rhombic or oblong, (8−)12−35(−43) × 6−34 mm, coarsely and irregularly toothed or wavelike-serrate; fruit bracteoles rhombic to 6-sided, fused to midpoint with 1−2 teeth on each free margin .. Atriplex suberecta   [pics]

4′ Perennials, often subshrubs with basal axes weakly woody; blades often ovate to elliptic and mostly entire

7  Strongly prostrate, matlike perennial of coastal and inland waste area; foliage covered with white coating (farinose); fruit bracteoles adhering to fruit turning rose and becoming fleshy except for free margin .. Atriplex semibaccata   [pics]

7′ Plants not forming mats of prostrate shoots; fruit bracteoles not becoming rose and fleshy

8  Whitish leaves crowded on ends of shoots; blades 8−30(−40) × 4−18 mm; fruit bracteoles broadly ovate becoming notably spongy, warty, and whitish .. Atriplex leucophylla   [pics]

8′ Foliage throughout plant especially on short lateral shoots; blades mostly < 15 mm long

9  Leaves mostly helically alternate but some opposite in early growth

10  Fruit bracteoles essentially free, entire and lacking warts on surface .. Atriplex californica   [pics]

10′ Fruit bracteoles fused to about midpoint, toothed on margins, with several projections on surface, becoming thick and hard .. Atriplex coulteri   [pics]

9′ Leaves opposite decussate; fruit bracteoles fused at least 2/3, rhombic-ovate or 5-sided and toothed on margins with short, blunt teeth .. Atriplex watsonii   [pics]


NB.  It is likely that other species of Atriplex have occurred in range or will be found here.  Atriplex rosea L., TUMBLING ORACH, a tall annual with toothed leaves, was once collected in range, and A. nummularia Lindl., a species with relatively large leaves, is found commonly along the coastline of Los Angeles County south of the range.  Many other names have been used for local plants, and varieties or subspecies recognized, so it is obvious that better collection and greater study is needed of local representatives.


Chenopodium L   GOOSEFOOT


(In Progress)


.. Chenopodium album   [pics]


.. Chenopodium berlandieri var. zschackei   [pics]


.. Chenopodium californicum   [pics]


.. Chenopodium macrospermum   [pics]


.. Chenopodium murale   [pics]


Dysphania R. Brown   WORMSEED


1  Annuals, mostly ascending to erect, 25−175 cm tall; blades 20−120 × 4−40(−55) mm; glomerule with only bisexual flowers; achenes mostly horizontal .. Dysphania ambrosioides   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs, decumbent, 8−30 cm tall; blades 3−15(−45) × 0.5−6(−10) mm; glomerule with mostly pistillate flowers but at least 1 bisexual flower; achenes vertical .. Dysphania multifida   [pics]




(In Progress)


.. Salicornia bigelovii   [pics]


.. Salicornia pacifica   [pics]


Salsola L.


1  Utricle with spreading, radiating wings (diclesium) > 6 mm across, the 2 smaller sepal wings obovate to spatulate and > 1 mm wide .. Salsola australis   [pics]

1′ Utricle with upright wings (diclesium) 2.3−4 mm across, the 2 smaller sepal wings oblong to hornlike or reduced to conic projections and < 0.5 mm wide .. Salsola tragus   [pics]


Suaeda J. F. Gmelin   SEA-BLITE, SEEPWEED


1  Annuals; perianth (calyx) with 1 or 2 lobes longer than others, lobes horned; stamens 2, anthers ± 0.3 mm long; seeds glossy dark brown to dark reddish brown (black) .. Suaeda calceoliformis   [pics]

1′ Perennials; perianth (calyx) lobes subequal and not horned; stamens 4−5, anthers 0.7−1 mm long

2  Shoots conspicuously short-tomentose; leaves 6.5−25 × 1.5−3 mm, old stems with persistent, projecting petiole; with pistillate and bisexual flowers; perianth short-pubescent; style arising from sunken top of ovary and 3−4(−6)-branched, the branches ± 0.7 mm long and purplish red; seed mostly black (red-brown) .. Suaeda taxifolia   [pics]

2′ Shoots glabrous; leaves 20−52 × 3.3−4.5 mm, old stems lacking persistent projections; flowers all bisexual; perianth glabrous; style 2−3-branched, the branches reddish at anthesis; seeds glossy reddish brown .. Suaeda esteroa   [pics]





1 Evergreen shrub with opposite decussate, leathery leaves; blades elliptic to lanceolate, 30−85 × 6−16 mm; flowers solitary and terminal, 65−85 mm across; petals white with thick yellowish base and generally a maroon spot; stamens many .. Cistus ladanifer   [pics]

1′ Subshrub with photosynthetic stems and helically alternate leaves; blades linear, 5−20(−40) × 0.5−1.5(−6) mm; flowers in cymes (paniclelike), 7−12 across; petals bright yellow; stamens 10 or 15 .. Helianthemum scoparium   [pics]


NB.  Rose-flowered species and selections of Cistus are widely cultivated in range, and it is difficult to determine where plants have become establish on their own.







.. Peritoma arborea var. arborea   [pics]





1  Plants with green leaves, not parasites

2  Flowers with corolla not obviously pleated in bud; styles 2 or essentially so, free or united at base, slightly unequal to equal

3  Creeping perennial herb with stolons; leaves with long petiole and kidney-shaped to heart-shaped blade 12−35 mm wide; flowers solitary and axillary, inconspicuous along buried stems, so plants often appearing only vegetative; ovary deeply 2-lobed .. Dichondra occidentalis   [pics]

3′ Halophytic perennial herb with ascending shoots and rhizomes; leaves with very short petiole and elliptic to lanceolate blade (1−)1.5−4(−6) mm wide; flowers solitary and axillary, evident in canopy with tubular white flowers; ovary not lobed .. Cressa truxillensis   [pics]

2′ Flowers with corolla pleated and twisted in bud; style 1

4  Blades on plant unlobed to symmetrically and asymmetrically 3-lobed, densely strigose; flowers brilliant blue when first open in morning turning rose-purple and closing in evening; stigma 1, capitate .. Ipomoea indica   [pics]

4′ Blades on plant unlobed or with spreading or backward-pointing basal lobes, nearly glabrous to hairy; flowers mostly white to pinkish or light purple, closing in the evening with greater pigmentation; stigmas 2, on slender branches

5  Bractlets 8.5+ mm long and relatively broad, at least partially concealing calyx (C. purpurata with long but narrow bractlets and not concealing calyx) .. Calystegia

5′ Bractlets to 3 mm long and narrow, not concealing calyx .. Convolvulus

1′ Plants nongreen parasites attached with haustoria to host plant, with slender, twining, orange to yellowish stems and lacking obvious leaves; flowers in dense clusters, with tubular white corolla and 2 unequal styles .. Cuscuta


Calystegia L.    FALSE BINDWEED


1  Trailing perennial herbs of coastal dunes; blades fleshy and kidney-shaped to round, 20−60 × 20−70 mm, with rounded lobes, dark green; bractlets subtending flower (2) hiding calyx, 8.5−13 × 5−10 mm .. Calystegia soldanella   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs of soil; blades not fleshy and having pointed lobes

2  Bractlets several mm below flower and not hiding calyx (tips somewhat overlapping calyx), narrowly lanceolate, 1.1−2.7 mm wide; inflorescences often with 2−3 flowers; corolla 20−36 mm long .. Calystegia purpurata subsp. purpurata   [pics]

2′ Bractlets < 1 mm below flower and hiding calyx, 4+ mm wide; inflorescences generally with only 1 flower

3  Plants not twining; blades deltate or with spreading basal lobes, 25−35 × 15−35 mm; corolla 20−30 mm long .. Calystegia collina subsp. venusta   [pics]

3′ Plants generally twining; blades typically > 35 mm long and mostly arrow-shaped

4  Bractlets ovate, 8.5−15 × 5.5−11 mm and slightly notched to obtuse at tip; corolla 35−43 mm long .. Calystegia macrostegia subsp. cyclostegia   [pics]

4′ Bractlets triangular-lanceolate, 17−19 × 6.5−7.5 mm and acute to acuminate at tip; corolla 25−40 mm long .. Calystegia macrostegia subsp. intermedia   [pics]


Convolvulus L.   BINDWEED


1  Inconspicuous annual sometimes looped around adjacent plants; blades narrowly oblanceolate to linear, 1.5−6 mm wide; corolla 4−6 mm long, white with lavender (bluish) lobes .. Convolvulus simulans   [pics]

1′ Weedy, twining perennial vine on plants or along bare ground; blades ± arrow-shaped, 7−25 mm wide; corolla 15−20 mm long, white or with pink or light purple sectors exposed to sunlight .. Convolvulus arvensis   [pics]


Cuscuta L.    DODDER


1  Stems threadlike, 0.15−0.3 mm diameter; flowers 3−4.3 mm across; calyx lobes acuminate-triangular; corolla tube 1.5−1.7 mm long and ovate lobes 1.5−2 mm long, with narrowly tongue-shaped appendages fringed at least at tip; in salt marsh, parasitic on Jaumea and Salicornia .. Cuscuta pacifica var. pacifica   [pics]

1′ Stems 0.4+ mm diameter; in various habitats, including coastal sand dunes, but not in salt marsh

2  Flowers 2.3−2.7 mm across; calyx lobes ovate-triangular; corolla tube 1.2−1.5 mm long and acuminate to acute lobes 1.1−1.7 mm long, with lobed, tongue-shaped appendages; along freshwater habitats, parasitic in range especially on Xanthium and Apium, with stems 0.5−1.3 mm diameter .. Cuscuta campestris   [pics]

2′ Flowers 4+ mm across

3  Stems 0.4−0.7 mm diameter; calyx ca. 2.5 × 1−1.3 mm, surface minutely bladderlike; corolla tube 2−2.5 mm long and lobes 2.7−3.8 mm, lacking appendages; stamens 5 with filaments 0.7−2 mm long and anthers 0.5−1.5 mm long; widespread, parasitic of common shrubs but also occasionally herbs .. Cuscuta californica var. papillosa   [pics]

3′ Stems 0.5−1.7 mm diameter; calyx 1.8−3.3 × 1.6−2.1 mm, surface not minutely bladderlike; corolla tube 3.1−4.5(−5) mm long, having spatulate appendages with fringed margins; stamens (4−)5 with filaments 0−0.2 mm long and anthers 0.6−0.8 mm long; parasitic mainly on Malosma but also Ceanothus spinosus and potentially neighboring shrubs .. Cuscuta subinclusa   [pics]





Cornus L.    DOGWOOD


.. Cornus glabrata   [pics]





1 Annuals with opposite decussate leaves having pairs fused across nodes (perfoliate) and blades < 3 mm long; inflorescences terminal and axillary with tiny flowers to 1.3 mm across, present among leaves; sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils having 4 per whorl .. Crassula connata   [pics]

1′ Leaf succulent perennials with mostly helically alternate leaves and blades > 8 mm long; inflorescences on a long stalk above foliage with relatively showy flowers; sepals, petals, and pistils typically 5 or more per whorl, stamens 2× sepals

2 Foliage in dense, leafy rosettes at the end of branches > 300 mm long; blades short-ciliate on margins, often glossy and not glaucous; calyx puberulent, petals 9-11 .. Aeonium arboreum   [pics]

2′ Foliage usually forming a dense or loose rosette close to ground; blades never ciliate on margins, often glaucous and sometimes exceedingly so; calyx glabrous, petals 5(-6)

3 Plantlets formed aboveground via stolons and growing by rhizomes; inflorescence on each shoot terminal; corolla of separate petals; pistils and follicles 4-5 .. Sedum spathulifolium   [pics]

3′ Plantlets formed only belowground via rhizomes or corms; inflorescences on each plant axillary to old leaves; corolla with fused petals (5-lobed); pistils and follicles 5-6 .. Dudleya


Dudleya Brit. & Rose   LIVEFOREVER


(In Progress)


.. Dudleya blochmaniae subsp. blochmaniae   [pics]


.. Dudleya caespitosa   [pics]


.. Dudleya cymosa subsp. agourensis   [pics]


.. Dudleya cymosa subsp. cymosa   [pics]


.. Dudleya cymosa subsp. marcescens   [pics]


.. Dudleya cymosa subsp. ovatifolia   [pics]


.. Dudleya lanceolata   [pics]


.. Dudleya multicaulis   [pics]


.. Dudleya palmeri   [pics]


.. Dudleya parva   [pics]


.. Dudleya pulverulenta   [pics]


.. Dudleya verityi   [pics]





1  Blades lobed or toothed, sinuses less than to midblade; stem and leaf axes scabrous; staminate and pistillate flowers only one per axil; corolla 55+ mm long, yellow; berry (pepo) smooth or rough but never spinescent, indehiscent, with many yellowish tan, flat seeds .. Cucurbita

1′ Blades often deeply lobed, many sinuses below midblade; stem and leaf axes not scabrous; staminate flowers in racemes or panicles of racemes with or without a basal flower pistillate; corolla to 17 mm long, white to whitish or greenish white; capsule spinescent covered with sharp prickles, opening irregularly at top, with several large, brown seeds .. Marah   [pics]


NB.  Marah fabacea (Naudin) Greene, California man-root, is a trailing, tuber- and tendril-bearing perennial vine that was collected by Andy Sanders at a locality on the northern edge of the range near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. This species is generally regarded in southern California as a desert species, and can be distinguished fairly easily from vegetative, flower, and fruit features; it has 5-lobed or 7-lobed, flowers that are more yellow or cream-colored, and fruits that are smaller and spheric with shorter prickles on the surface and with only one seed per chamber.


Cucurbita L.    GOURD, SQUASH


1  Perennials with trailing shoots arising from massive tuber; leaves with petioles 35−175 mm long and triangular to triangular-ovate, gray-green blades; flowers 90−120 mm across; sepals 9−25 mm long; pepos spheric, 65−75 × 70−85 mm, smooth, initially dark green and striped turning bright yellow with a hard cover and drying light-weight .. Cucurbita foetidissima   [pics]

1′ Annuals; leaves with petioles 200−370 mm long and roundish, green blades; flowers 120−180 mm across; sepals 25−39 mm long; pepos various shapes but rarely spheric, rough and variously ribbed or angled, drying heavy (cultivated squashes) .. Cucurbita pepo var. pepo   [pics]





1  Stems  round to elliptic in ×-section; sessile flowers and associated bractlets produced as a solitary, dense cluster of flowers (spike) terminal on a shoot with leaves having a sheath with or without a short blade

2  Plant a cespitose, densely compact cushion with terminal, ovoid spikes 2.3−5 mm long; blades on leaves 1.3−8.5 mm long; bractlet subtending flower 1.2−1.5 mm long; perianth (bristles) absent; achene without a persistent, conic style (tubercle) .. Isolepis cernua   [pics]

2′ Plant strongly clonal, with tufts of shoots arising from creeping rhizomes with terminal spikes > 5 mm long; leaves lacking blades; bractlet subtending flower 2.5+ mm long; perianth (bristles) present; achene with persistent, conic style (tubercle) .. Eleocharis

1′ Stems ± 3-sided; inflorescence composed of 2 or more dense clusters of sessile to subsessile flowers (spikes or spikelets)

3  Flowers unisexual; pistil and later achene enclosed by an urn-shaped or flask-shaped sac (perigynium) .. Carex

3′ Flowers bisexual; pistil and achene not enclosed by a sac

4  Perianth (bristles) absent; inflorescence terminal, with leaflike inflorescence bracts and flowers arranged in clusters of many elongate spikelets, each spikelet subtended by 2 glumes and having bractlets and flowers arranged in 2 rows (2-ranked) .. Cyperus

4′ Perianth (bristles) present; bractlets and flowers helically arranged

5  Plant leafy with conspicuous blades

6  Plant with inflorescence obviously terminal; blades to 600 × 3−18 mm, diverging above closed, membranous triangle of sheath, lacking a ligule; stamens 3, filaments 7.5−8.5 mm long and anthers 3.5−4 mm long; perianth bristles 6, 1.5−2 mm long .. Bolboschoenus maritimus subsp. paludosus   [pics]

6′ Plant with lateral inflorescences; blades 230−900+ × 5−15(−20) mm, diverging from sheath with 2 ligulelike projects 0.5−0.8 mm long at top; stamens 2, filaments 1.3−1.5 mm long and anthers ca. 0.8 mm long; perianth bristles (3−)4−6, 0.7−1.3 mm long .. Scirpus microcarpus   [pics]

5′ Plant appearing mostly to lack green blades and having instead long photosynthetic stems; inflorescence often appearing to be lateral by having a green, stemlike extension of the shoot axis project beyond the inflorescence .. Schoenoplectus


Carex L.   SEDGE


(In Progress)


.. Carex barbarae   [pics]


.. Carex globosa   [pics]


.. Carex multicostata


.. Carex aff. obispoensis   [pics]


.. Carex praegracilis   [pics]


.. Carex senta   [pics]


.. Carex spissa   [pics]




1  Spikelets cylindric, 5−10-flowered, breaking into 1-fruited units (disarticulating) = rachis internode + achene + bractlet of next node (2−2.5 mm long), spikelets radiating along inflorescence axis (bottlebrushlike); achenes (1.2−)1.5−1.9 mm long .. Cyperus odoratus   [pics]

1′ Spikelets compressed to flattened, not breaking into 1-fruited units but instead achenes and bractlets abscising from rachis, achenes < 1.5 mm long

2  Plant clonal with tubers forming annual plants and also long, radiating stolons forming new tuber at tip; bractlet subtending flower 2.5−2.9 mm long; filaments ca. 3 mm long and anthers 1.5−1.6 mm long; achenes typically never formed .. Cyperus esculentus var. leptostachyus   [pics]

2′ Plant lacking tubers and stolons; stamens with filaments and anthers shorter than above

3  Annual; blades of vegetative leaves and green inflorescence bracts typically < 5 mm wide; anthers ±0.4 mm long

4  Leaf sheath only several mm long; blades and green bracts inversely W-pleated; spikelets to 20 radiating from top of axis, 7−9-flowered; stamens 3; achenes (0.4−)0.7−1 × 0.4−0.6 mm, glossy light grayish to brown; roots generally purplish red .. Cyperus erythrorhizos

4′ Leaf sheath 40−80+ mm long, with ligulelike projections 0.5−0.8 mm at top; blades and green bracts V-pleated; spikelets many in dense, spheroidal, headlike clusters mostly 5−13 mm diameter; stamens 1−2; achenes 0.55−0.65 × 0.35−0.45 mm, greenish or golden brown to tannish; roots not red .. Cyperus difformis   [pics]

3′ Perennial herb with well-developed rhizome; most blades and green bracts > 5 mm wide and ± flat along most of length; anthers ± 1 mm long

5  Basal leaves lacking blades (only sheaths), with green blades restricted to inflorescence; inflorescence not densely clustered, haing spreading green bracts and somewhat open arrays of spikelets; stamens 3; bractlet subtending achene prow-shaped, 1.5−1.9 mm long; achenes ellipsoid, 0.7−0.8 × 0.4−0.6 mm, yellowish brown to light brown .. Cyperus involucratus   [pics]

5′ Basal leaves with green blades as well as inflorescence; inflorescence with spikelets in dense, headlike clusters; stamen 1; bractlet subtending achene broadly lanceolate, 2−2.5 mm long; achenes obovoid with short beak, 1.2−1.4 × 0.5−0.6 mm, light brown to dark brown (blackish) .. Cyperus eragrostis   [pics]


Eleocharis R. Brown   SPIKE-RUSH


(In Progress)


.. Eleocharis macrostachya   [pics]


.. Eleocharis parishii   [pics]


.. Eleocharis radicans


Schoenoplectus (Rchb.) Palla   NAKED-STEMMED BULRUSH


1  Stems sharply 3-angled, triangular in ×-section with deeply concave sides; spikelet cluster tight and appearing lateral ca. 20 mm from tip, spikelets subsessile .. Schoenoplectus americanus   [pics]

1′ Stems 3-sided with rounded edges; rays of inflorescence visible, entire to scabrous

2  Leaves nearly bladeless; inflorescence loose; spikelets narrowly ovoid, 4−5 × 2−3 mm; perianth bristles 2−4, linear and flat, (1.2−)1.4−2.1 mm long, short-papillate on margins .. Schoenoplectus californicus   [pics]

2′ Leaves with blades acute-triangular, 4−40 mm long; inflorescence compact; spikelets cylindric-ovoid, 4−17 × 2−3.5 mm; perianth bristles (3−)5−7, tapered from flattened base, 1.8−2 mm long, barbed on margins .. Schoenoplectus acutus var. occidentalis   [pics]





Datisca L.    DATISCA


.. Datisca glomerata   [pics]







Dipsacus L.    TEASEL


.. Dipsacus fullonum   [pics]





1  Blades entire; anthers maroon; drupes smooth .. Arctostaphylos

1′ Blades regularly sharp-serrate; anthers pinkish orange; drupes prominently papillate .. Comarostaphylis diversifolia subsp. planifolia   [pics]


Arctostaphylos Adans.   MANZANITA


1  Plants taller than wide, with 1–several basal stems, burl lacking; leaves and young stems somewhat glaucous, glabrous or short-pubescent; flowers 8–9 mm long; drupes 12–15 mm wide .. Arctostaphylos glauca   [pics]

1′ Plants much wider than tall, many-stemmed, burl present; leaves and young stems not glaucous, densely pubescence and with conspicuous long, spreading, glandular hairs; flowers ca. 5 mm long; drupes 6−9 mm wide .. Arctostaphylos glandulosa   [pics]





1  Staminate and pistillate flowers distinct, not borne within an involucre; latex (if visible) clear or only cloudy

2  Blades conspicuously palmately lobed, 100−500 mm long; capsule spinescent .. Ricinus communis   [pics]

2′ Blades entire or finely toothed, short to 85 mm long; capsule not spinescent

3  Shoots glabrous; inflorescence spikelike; bractlet of flower having 2 trumpet-shaped glands; calyx absent; stamens 2 .. Stillingia linearifolia   [pics]

3′ Shoots hairy; inflorescence a cyme or racemelike; bractlet of flower without trumpet-shaped glands; calyx present, stamens 6 or more .. Croton

1′ Staminate and pistillate flowers formed as a cyathium resembling a bisexual flower (involucre having 4 conspicuous nectary glands and both stamenlike staminate flowers and 1 stalked pistillate flower); latex copious and white .. Euphorbia


Croton L.    CROTON


1  Dioecious perennial; shoots open-branched, covered by appressed, reflective, peltate-stellate hairs, each hair with center aging brownish; styles 3 and branched above; capsules 3-seeded .. Croton californicus   [pics]

1′ Monoecious annual; shoots intricately and regularly 3-branched, with mixed long, spreading unbranched and stellate hairs; style 1 and unbranched; capsules 1-seeded .. Croton setigerus   [pics]


Euphorbia L.    SPURGE


1  Shoots strongly planed (plagiotropic) with only opposite leaves; blades asymmetric at base, with stipules at base; fleshy appendage on seed (caruncle) absent (subgenus Chamaesyce)

2  Leaves and capsules with hairs

3  Perennial with many stems at base; blades entire; nectary glands burgundy to blackish with showy, wide, white appendages; staminate flowers 15 or more

4  Plants densely tomentose; appendages with hairs; cyathia 2−3 mm wide and capsules 1.5−2 mm long .. Euphorbia melanadenia

4′ Plants sparsely hairy; appendages glabrous; cyathia 1.2−2.7 mm wide and capsules 1.3−1.6 mm long .. Euphorbia polycarpa   [pics] (part)

3′ Annual with conspicuous taproot; blades with short teeth; nectary glands yellowish green to yellowish orange or reddish with narrow whitish and pinkish appendages; staminate flowers 2−10

5  Capsules 1−1.2 mm long; nectary glands reddish .. Euphorbia prostrata   [pics]

5′ Capsules 1.3−1.8 mm long; nectary glands typically yellowish green to yellowish orange

6  Blades with teeth nearly to base, often with dark reddish central spot; cyathia < 1 mm wide; capsules short-strigose .. Euphorbia maculata   [pics]

6′ Blades with teeth only above midpoint, lacking central spot; cyathia 1−2 mm wide; capsules without appressed hairs .. Euphorbia serpyllifolia var. hirtula

2′ Leaves and capsules glabrous

7  Nodal adventitious roots present or showing root buds; cyathia < 1 mm across .. Euphorbia serpens   [pics]

7′ Nodal adventitious roots absent; cyathia 1.3−4 mm across

8  Annual with conspicuous taproot; nectary glands with yellowish green or yellowish orange to reddish .. Euphorbia serpyllifolia var. serpyllifolia   [pics]

8′ Perennial with many stems at base; nectary glands purplish red to burgundy

9  Only lower stipules fused across node; capsules 1.3−1.6 mm long .. Euphorbia polycarpa   [pics] (part)

9′ Both lower and upper stipules fused across node; capsules 1.7−2 mm long .. Euphorbia albomarginata   [pics]

1′ Shoots not planed (orthotropic), strictly helically alternate or with lower leaves opposite decussate; blades symmetric at base, without stipules; fleshy appendage on seed (caruncle) present and often mushroomlike

10  Glands of cyathium with paired hornlike ends; seeds lacking netted ridges

11  Blades entire with a tapered base; capsules ca. 2 mm long, prominently 2-crested on each valve face; seeds whitish gray with vertical depressions .. Euphorbia peplus   [pics]

11′ Blades with small teeth and sometimes basal lobes; capsules 3.3−4 mm long, not 2-crested on valve face; seeds dark brown coated by tannish layer and minutely granular .. Euphorbia terracina   [pics]

10′ Glands of cyathium lacking hornlike ends; seeds with netted ridges

12  Cauline leaves opposite decussate and strongly 4-ranked, blades 30−150 mm long; capsules 6−12 mm long, sometimes minutely bumpy .. Euphorbia lathyris   [pics]

12′ Cauline leaves helically alternate; blades to 20 mm long; capsules ca. 2.5 mm long, conspicuously warty .. Euphorbia spathulata   [pics]





1  Shrubs appearing leafless, having wandlike, photosynthetic stems; leaves short-lived and 1-foliolate (simple), 10−30(−41) × 1−3(−4) mm; calyx bilateral and deeply cleft on 1 side; corolla bright yellow, banner 19−25 × 17−23 mm .. Spartium junceum   [pics]

1′ Plants not appearing leafless during growing season; leaves compound (except phyllodes of Acacia)

2  Leaves 2-pinnately compound

3  Flowers somewhat bilaterally symmetric with 5 showy yellow petals, stamens 10 and unequal

4  Shrubs conspicuously glandular-hairy with heads aging dark red; lacking stipular spines; blades feathery, having 7−13 primary leaflets; bractlet subtending pedicel conspicuous and hiding flower bud; filaments long-exserted, 70−100 mm long and glossy vivid to strong red; legumes dehiscent by 2 twisting values, initially flat oblong to hatchet-shaped, 60−120 mm long .. Caesalpinia gilliesii   [pics]

4′ Small trees not glandular-hairy; with stipular spines; blades with persistent, pendent to drooping, ribbonlike rachillas of primary leaflets with or without secondary leaflets; bractlet subtending pedicel inconspicuous, 1 mm long; filaments 7−10 mm long, green aging red; legumes ± indehiscent or tardily dehiscent, fusiform (constricted between seeds), 35−60(−100) mm long .. Parkinsonia aculeata   [pics]

3′  Flowers radially symmetric with comparatively small perianth and showy filaments, stamens > 10

5 Petiole with an oval extrafloral nectary 3 mm long at midpoint; inflorescence axillary and cylindric, 40−45 × ca. 25 mm; stamens fused at bases, filaments 10−12 mm long .. Albizia lophantha

5′ Petiole extrafloral nectaries not as above; inflorescence a racemelike array of several spheric heads 6−10 mm diameter; stamens free, filaments 3−4 mm long .. Acacia (part)

2′ Leaves not 2-pinnately compound or if 2-compound leaves plant also with “simple” leaves (phyllodes)

6  Leaf a flattened petiole modified as a “simple” blade (phyllode) with a gland on the margin above the pulvinus; flowers in dense, headlike, cylindric to spheric spikes or racemes with yellow to yellowish, radially symmetric flowers .. Acacia (part)

6′ Leaves compound; flowers bilaterally symmetric

7  Leaves with tendrils

8  Style pubescent on 1 side .. Lathyrus

8′ Style pubescent in a ring below stigma .. Vicia

7′ Leaves without tendrils

9  Leaves mostly or exclusively 3-foliolate

10  Shrubs or subshrubs with photosynthetic stems

11  Shoots with rigid, sharp-tipped stems; flowers deep rose to magenta, 14−16 mm across; stamens 10 in 2 whorls and free essentially to base .. Pickeringia montana var. montana   [pics]

11′ Shoots not spinescent; flowers yellow; stamens 10 with filaments mostly fused

12  Shoots sparsely leaved, ± short-strigose; flowers ca. 5 mm across; calyx 5-lobed; filament sheet of 9 fused stamens and 1 free stamen .. Acmispon glaber   [pics]

12′  Shoots clothed with evergreen leaves, silky-hairy; flowers ca. 10 mm across; calyx 3-lobed; filament column of 10 fused stamens with free portions alternating long and short .. Genista monspessulana   [pics]

10′ Herbs

13  Sprawling and twining perennial vine; leaflet subtended by stipel; raceme condensed with twin, purplish pink to deep rose and dark purple flowers at each node; banner with a pair of flaps below midpoint; style with brushlike hairs capped with a purplish stigma .. Dipogon lignosus   [pics]

13′ Plant not a vine; leaflets lacking stipels; banner and style not as above

14  Inflorescence with dark hairs and white hairs

15  Foliage short-strigose with white hairs and strigose with longer red hairs; involucre discontinuous of 2 distichous bracts each subtending 2 or 3 flowers, unequally lobed and aging with mostly red hairs; legumes tadpolelike with stylar beak protruding from the calyx and bristles at top of seed chamber .. Bituminaria bituminosa   [pics]

15′ Foliage soft-hairy and gland-dotted throughout, and mildly fragrant; involucre lacking, bractlet subtending flower unlobed; legumes not tadpolelike

16  Tall riparian herb with long, wandlike stems dying back to woody caudex; flowers violet or purplish; calyx lobes unequal, the lower lobe ≥ corolla .. Hoita macrostachya   [pics]

16′ Colonial, stolon-bearing herb growing in humus-rich soil of deep shade; flowers mostly creamy white to ivory; calyx lobes subequal and < corolla .. Rupertia physodes   [pics]

14′ Inflorescence with only 1 type of hairs

17  Leaflets entire; inflorescence umbel-like on peduncle >> leaf, 3−6(−8)-flowered; flowers bright yellow; legumes dehiscent by 2 twisting valves, 15−25(−35) mm long .. Lotus corniculatus   [pics]

17′ Leaflets having at least some lateral veins ending in teeth; inflorescence a raceme or spike

18 Inflorescence terminal, headlike, having flowers in 1 or more conspicuous whorls .. Trifolium

18′ Inflorescence typically axillary (also terminal in Medicago sativa)

19  Legumes several-seeded, curved or strongly coiled .. Medicago

19′ Legumes 1-seeded, ovoid to ellipsoid and neither curved nor coiled .. Melilotus

9′ Leaves typically with 4+ leaflets

20  Leaves palmately compound; stamens 10 all fused into column with free portions alternating long and short .. Lupinus

20′ Leaves 1-pinnately compound

21  Trees with multiple trunks; leaves 120−350 mm long, on older stems at some nodes having pairs of stipular spines; racemes pendent with 25−50, sweetly fragrant, white to creamy white flowers (sometimes blushed light pink); legumes strongly flattened with stiffly papery valves .. Robinia pseudoacacia   [pics]

21′ Perennial herbs (shrublike) or annuals; stipular spines never present; inflorescence not pendent; legumes neither strongly flattened nor with stiffly papery valves

22  Leaflets gland-dotted

23  Shrubs; leaflets elliptic or oblong to narrowly ovate, 10−25(−40) × 4−20 mm, with threadlike stipel at base and sessile gland at tip; racemes densely flowered; petals 1, banner 4−6 mm long, burgundy; stamens 10 fused at base into short tube .. Amorpha californica var. californica   [pics]

23′ Thicket-forming perennial herb (appearing shrublike); leaflets lanceolate to narrowly ovate or elliptic, (15−)28−53 × 12−21 mm, lacking stipels and having sharp point at tip, smelling like licorice and viscid; racemes interrupted with spaces between clusters of flowers; petals 5, papilionaceous, banner 10−12.5 mm long, white with pale lavender; stamens 10 with 9 fused as filament sheet .. Glycyrrhiza lepidota   [pics]

22′ Leaflets not gland-dotted

24  Stipules ± acuminate to awl-shaped, > 1.5 mm long; leaflets 8+, often ± paired along rachis and symmetric; inflorescence a raceme

25  Evergreen shrubs; flowers slightly bilaterally symmetric, 15−18 mm across; sepals 5(−6), distinctly unequal; petals subequal, wide-spreading, and clawed, bright yellow; stamens free .. Senna

25′ Annuals or deciduous perennials; flowers strongly bilaterally symmetric, < 10 mm across; calyx 5-lobed; petals papilionaceous, banner not clawed, purplish, lilac, cream, ivory, or pale greenish white to light greenish yellow or light yellow; stamens with 9 fused as filament sheet .. Astragalus

24′ Stipules glandlike, reddish, and minute; leaflets mostly 3−9, unevenly positioned and asymmetric; inflorescence an axillary umbel or flowers solitary, flowers usually bright to light yellow sometimes aging reddish .. Acmispon


Acacia Miller    ACACIA, WATTLE


1  Canopy leaves exclusively even-2-pinnately compound, with 9−24 pairs of primary leaflets and a nectary at each pair junction; secondary leaflets 2−4(−5) × 0.6−0.7 mm; heads many, spheric, 6−8 mm across .. Acacia dealbata   [pics]

1′ Canopy leaves exclusively or mostly simple (= phyllodes)

2  Inflorescence of cylindric spikes 12−40 × 5 mm; gland on phyllode 4−5 mm from pulvinus; calyx 4-lobed .. Acacia longifolia   [pics]

2′ Inflorescence of spheric, headlike spikes mostly in axillary, racemelike or paniclelike clusters; calyx 5-lobed

3  Phyllode blades 1-veined from base

4  Phyllodes linear-lanceolate to oblanceolate-linear, (30−)60−195 × 3−15 mm, gland 5−10 mm from pulvinus; inflorescence with 3−30 heads, heads 4.5−6 mm across, light yellow .. Acacia retinodes   [pics]

4′ Phyllodes narrowly elliptic to narrowly lanceolate or narrowly oblanceolate, 80−310 × 9−21 mm, gland 2−3 mm from pulvinus; inflorescence of 7−12 heads, heads 14−16 mm across, yellow .. Acacia saligna   [pics]

3′ Phyllode blades 2−5-veined from base

5  Phyllodes 45−90 × 6−12 mm, faintly 3-veined, glabrous, gland touching pulvinus; heads 2−8 in pairs, 5−6 mm across, light yellow .. Acacia cyclops   [pics]

5′ Phyllodes 90−140 × 10−33 mm, prominently veined, densely short-hairy, gland 2−4 mm from pulvinus; heads 1−4, ± 10 mm across, whitish except with yellow anthers; often with some even-2-pinnately compound leaves having a small gland on upper side of petiole several mm above pulvinus .. Acacia melanoxylon   [pics]


Acmispon Raf.    NEW WORLD LOTUS


1  Annuals

2  Leaves typically 3-foliolate; corolla whitish tinged rose or with some yellow .. Acmispon americanus var. americanus   [pics]

2′ Leaves mostly with 4 or more leaflets; corolla never whitish

3  Flowers typically 1(2) per axil

4  Leaflets 4−9 on petiole 0.5−2.5 mm long with blades 0.7−2.5 mm wide; flowers 4.5−5 mm across; banner 8−11.5 mm long .. Acmispon strigosus   [pics]

4′ Leaflets 3−6 on petiole < 0.5 mm long with blades 2.2−4(−6) mm wide; flowers ± 2 mm across; banner ± 4 mm long .. Acmispon wrangelianus   [pics]

3′ Flowers typically 2−5 per axil

5  Bract at top of peduncle leaflike, 1−3-foliolate; flowers showy, 4.5−5 mm across; calyx 3.5−4 mm long; banner 6.7−7.8 mm long; legume dehiscent, 10−12-seeded .. Acmispon maritimus var. maritimus   [pics]

5′ Bract at top of peduncle absent; flowers small, 1.5 mm across; calyx 2 mm long; banner 3−3.5 mm long; legume indehiscent, 1(−2)-seeded with 2 sharp bends .. Acmispon micranthus   [pics]

1′ Perennials

6  Shoots silvery gray, densely tomentose; leaflets 3−5(−7); umbels on short peduncles from axils, 4−8-flowered; legume indehiscent, 1(−2)-seeded, 4.8−7 mm long .. Acmispon argophyllus var. argophyllus   [pics]

6′ Shoots with spaced hairs and stems ± green and photosynthetic; inflorescence on long peduncle

7  Leaves 3-foliolate, ± short-strigose; panicle of 2−5(−7)-flowered umbels; flowers (6−)8−11 mm long; legume indehiscent, 1−2(−3)-seeded, 10−15 mm long .. Acmispon glaber   [pics]

7′ Leaves (3−)5−9-foliolate, mostly villous to short-villous; axillary umbels 5−9-flowered; flowers 15−20 mm long; legume dehiscent, to 20-seeded, 30−60 mm long .. Acmispon grandiflorus var. grandiflorus   [pics]


Astragalus L.    MILKVETCH


1  Annuals, mostly < 30 cm tall; flowers 2.5−6 mm long; legume breaking into 2 1-seeded segments (2-chambered)

2  Leaflets in 5−8 pairs along a rachis 20−40 mm long, elliptic to lanceolate or oblanceolate with upper surface glabrous; raceme 5−25-flowered, mostly white-strigose on rachis, bractlets, and pedicels; pedicels erect later ascending; stamens 3.4−4.5 mm long; legumes veiny ridged, inconspicuously short-strigose .. Astragalus didymocarpus var. didymocarpus   [pics]

2′ Leaflets in 4−6 pairs along a rachis 15−16 mm long, narrowly heart-shaped with upper surface having ascending hairs except along midrib; raceme 4−10-flowered having mostly dark red to blackish hairs on rachis, bractlets, and pedicels; pedicels spreading aging reflexed; stamens 1.8−2 mm long; legumes not veiny ridged, conspicuously villous .. Astragalus gambelianus   [pics]

1′ Perennials, > 30 cm tall; flowers 7−15 mm long; legumes with more than 2 mature or aborted seeds per chamber

3  Mature stems densely covered with white hairs; legume lacking a sralk (stipe) at the end of pedicel

4  Leaf with petiole to 25 mm long, peduncles 35−85 mm long; petals reddish purple to purple fading to dull lilac; legumes 2-chambered .. Astragalus brauntonii   [pics]

4′ Leaf with short petiole (< 6 mm long), peduncles 15−22 mm long; petals light green and yellowish maturing cream; legumes 1-chambered .. Astragalus pycnostachyus var. lanosissimus   [pics]

3′ Mature stems strigose to glabrescent; legume pendent on stalk (stipe) at least 5 mm longer than pedicel

5  Petals light greenish yellow to light yellow; legumes flat, oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 22−36 × 5.5−7 mm, dehiscent .. Astragalus antiselli   [pics]

5′ Petals cream to ivory or pale greenish white; legumes conspicuously inflated, boat-shaped, (13−)17−32 × 8−16 mm, indehiscent .. Astragalus trichopodus var. lonchus   [pics]


Lathyrus L.    WILD PEA


1  Shoots with ± cylindric axes (lacking wings), leaves with 8−12 leaflets, having most leaflet blades < 50 mm long; flowers < 17 mm across with banner 15−20 mm long and wide .. Lathyrus vestitus var. vestitus   [pics]

1′ Shoots with conspicuously winged axes, leaves mostly with only 2 leaflets, having most leaflet blades > 50 mm long; flowers 17−35 mm across with banner 21+ mm long and wide

2  Annual; foliage pubescent and with short glandular hairs, blades of leaflets broadly elliptic to ovate or rhombic, 24−105 × 12−75 mm, having 3−12 leaflets modified as tendrils; racemes (1−)2−4-flowered, flowers strongly fragrant; calyx tube 6−8 mm long and lobes 6−9 mm long; petals of a flower distinctly 2-colored (all white); legumes 50−60(−75) × 7−11 mm; seeds spheroid, 5.5−6 mm long .. Lathyrus odoratus   [pics]

2′ Perennial herb; foliage glabrous, blades of leaflets oblanceolate to elliptic, 30−90 × 9−31 mm, having 1−7 leaflets modified as tendrils; racemes (4−)9−13-flowered, flowers not fragrant; calyx tube 5−6 mm long and lobes to 6 mm long; petals of a flower ± 1-colored, dark to intermediate reddish purple (all white); legumes 70−90 × 6−7 mm; seeds subspheroid to barrel-shaped, 3.5−5 mm long .. Lathyrus latifolius   [pics]


Lupinus L.    LUPINE


1  Taprooted annuals

2  Shoots and inflorescence axes hirsute with long, light brown stinging hairs having blisterlike bases (pustulate); flowers mostly helically alternate and not clustered into pseudowhorls along raceme; banner strong purple with lighter margins aging darker and more violet .. Lupinus hirsutissimus   [pics]

2′ Shoots and inflorescences lacking stinging hairs

3  Flowers arranged in well-defined whorls of 6−7, having conspicuous bractlets fused around node and reflexed in fruit; banner light purple in late bud becoming very pale purple (white); legumes 2-seeded, valves short and cupped, never twisting .. Lupinus microcarpus var. microcarpus   [pics]

3′ Flowers not in well-defined whorls with persistent, fused bractlets, having flowers either alternate or some in clusters or pseudowhorls

4  Flowers typically < 4 mm across

5  Leaflets mostly 7−9; stipules 3−5 mm long above winged base; pedicels at anthesis 1.5−3.3 mm long; calyx tube 1−1.5 mm long; banner obovate, 4.3−5.5(−8) × 2.8−3.6(−4) mm, violet-blue (pink, white); upper margin of keel limb ciliate above midpoint; legumes 12−20 mm long .. Lupinus bicolor   [pics]

5′ Leaflets mostly 5−8; stipules 1−3 mm long; pedicels at anthesis to 1.6 mm long; calyx tube 0.6−1 mm long; banner elliptic, 4−4.8 × 2−2.5 mm long, mostly reddish purple; keel glabrous; legumes 8−13 mm long .. Lupinus concinnus var. agardhianus   [pics]

4′ Flowers > 4.5 mm across

6  Large leaflets 6−12 mm wide; expanded inflorescence with most flowers in pseudowhorls of 4−6 mm; flowers strong violet (blue) with white, lavender, or pink (all white); banner roundish, 13−15 mm; legumes 9−12-seeded, 35−65 × 7−9 mm .. Lupinus succulentus   [pics]

6′ Large leaflets < 6 mm wide; expanded inflorescence with flowers ± spaced; flowers mostly reddish purple; banner 8.5−12.5 mm long; legumes 5−8-seeded, 15−40 × 4.5−5.5 mm

7  Leaflets truncate to slightly notched at tip, lower surface sparsely strigose; stipules 0.7−2.3 mm long; flowers strictly helically alternate and ± evenly spaced along axis; legumes 25−40 × 5−5.5 mm, valves soft-pubescent; seeds ca. 7 × 5 mm .. Lupinus truncatus   [pics]

7′ Leaflets acute at tip, lower surface hirsute; stipules 3.5−8 mm long; flowers in loose clusters of 4−6 but never in pseudowhorls; legumes 15−20 × 4.6−5.2 mm, long-hairy; seeds ca. 3 × 2 mm .. Lupinus sparsiflorus   [pics]

1′ Perennials

8  Shoots essentially herbaceous from belowground

9  Plant often 1-stemmed from woody caudex; blades of leaflets (23−)36−130 × (8−)11−28 mm, upper surface glabrescent at maturity, lower surface sparsely short-strigose; flowers mostly alternate but also in pseudowhorls of 4−5, raceme axis short-strigose; calyx tube 2.2−2.5 mm long; keel ca. 11 mm long, ciliate on upper margin from claw to midpoint .. Lupinus latifolius   [pics]

9′ Plant several-stemmed from rhizome; blades of leaflets 8−37 × 2.1−10 mm, surfaces weakly sericeous; flowers mostly in oblique pseudowhorls of 4−6, raceme axis long-hairy; calyx tube 1−1.3 mm long; keel ca. 14 mm long, glabrous .. Lupinus formosus var. formosus

8′ Shoots partially or entirely woody aboveground, sparsely to densely sericeous; keel ciliate on upper margin from angle to within 2 mm of tip with longer hairs above midpoint

10  Mostly subshrubs, on robust individuals peduncles < 190 mm long, rachis to 250 mm long and pseudowhorls to 30 mm apart; calyx appendages at sinuses ± 0.5 mm long; banner entire or slightly notched at obtuse tip, generally hairy on back; wings asymmetrically obovate, 12−14+ × 6.5−8.5 mm; ovary at anthesis 3.5−5.5 mm long .. Lupinus excubitus var. hallii   [pics]

10′ Mostly shrubs; on robust individuals peduncles often 200−400+ mm long, rachis to 480 mm long with some pseudowhorls to 50 mm apart; calyx appendages at sinuses 0.7−2.5 mm long; banner short-toothed at rounded tip, generally not hairy on back; wings semi-ovate, 13.3−16 × 6−6.5 mm; ovary at anthesis 7−9 mm long .. Lupinus longifolius   [pics]


NB.  The perennial lupines in range are not well understood.  Databases include collections from in range that have been identified as Lupinus albifrons Benth. and L. chamissonis Eschsch., but our examination of herbarium materials casts doubt on those determinations.  Plants formerly treated as populations of L. paynei Davids. occur in the Simi Hills, if this taxon is recognized.  Additionally, the evolutionary relationships of the other species in this species complex are imprecisely known, so that the specific boundaries of L. longifolius, L. excubitus, L. formosus, and L. latifolius, and their named varieties, are currently confusing.


Specimens initially identified as L. nanus Benth. were reported as such in previous versions of the manual but had already been corrected to be L. sparsiflorus.


Medicago L.    BURCLOVER


1  Deep-rooted perennial herbs; flowers violet to purple; banner 8−10 mm long; fruits with several coils and lacking prickles, several-seeded .. Medicago sativa   [pics]

1′ Taprooted annuals; flowers bright yellow; banner typically < 5 mm long

2  Plants typically < 8 cm tall; shoots sericeous aging short-pilose; stipules clasping; raceme 10−42-flowered; petals 1.2−2.5 mm long; legumes with less than 1 full coil (sterile tip), lacking prickles, strongly veined, blackish, 1-seeded .. Medicago lupulina   [pics]

2′ Plants 10−40 cm tall; shoots inconspicuously strigose aging glabrescent; stipules lobed but not clasping; raceme 3−7-flowered; petals 3−5 mm long; legumes with 2−6 coils, with 2 rows of prickles on coil margins, 4−6-seeded .. Medicago polymorpha   [pics]


Melilotus Miller    SWEETCLOVER


1  Terminal leaflet at least several mm > lateral leaflets; flowers white, 3.5−5 mm long, banner not clawed; legume brown, typically 3 mm long .. Melilotus albus   [pics]

1′ Terminal leaflets and lateral leaflets subequal; flowers bright yellow, 2.5−3 mm long, banner short-clawed; legume tannish and papery, 3−5 mm long .. Melilotus indicus   [pics]


Senna Miller    CASSIA, SENNA


1  Leaves gray-green and densely short-strigose, leaflets narrow and awl-shaped; raceme with 8−13 flowers .. Senna artemisioides   [pics]

1′ Leaves green, foul-smelling having conspicuous glandular hairs on the inflorescence, leaflets oblong and 10−20 mm wide; raceme with 15−55 flowers .. Senna didymobotrya   [pics]


Trifolium L.    CLOVER


1  Foliage glabrous or essentially so

2  Flowers and fruits in a raceme with several whorls; corolla not conspicuously inflated

3  Perennial herbs often mat-forming, with stems creeping (stolons) and rooting at nodes; involucre subtending head absent; flowers white to pale pink .. Trifolium repens   [pics]

3′ Annuals, taprooted, stems not creeping; flowers light purple to reddish purple or pale purple

4  Blades of leaflets 4.7−11 mm wide; involucre absent; calyx lobes bristly short-ciliate and with bristlelike tip (appearing short-dentate when hairs break off); ovary with hairy above midpoint .. Trifolium ciliolatum   [pics]

4′ Blades of leaflets typically < 5 mm wide; involucre present and conspicuous; calyx lobes glabrous; ovary glabrous

5  Blades of leaflets obovate, 4−8 mm long; raceme with 7−19 flowers in 2−3 whorls; involucre with 5−9 lobes, 2−10 mm across; calyx 4.8−5.5 mm long and petals 6.2−7.5 mm long .. Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum   [pics]

5′ Blades of leaflets linear to narrowly elliptic, 13−50 mm long; raceme with 22−29 flowers in 3−4 whorls; involucre with 45−50 teeth, 9−14 mm across; calyx 5.6−7 mm long and petals 8.5−9.5 mm long .. Trifolium willdenovii   [pics]

2′ Flowers and fruits in a spike commonly with 1 lower whorl of sessile flowers + central flowers; corolla (banner) conspicuously inflated in developing fruits

6  Leaves with petioles 13.5−30 mm long and blades of leaflets narrowly oblong or elliptic to oblanceolate and 2−4.3 mm wide; involucre bractlets free or fused to 0.5 mm, 1.8−3.2 mm long; calyx and petals at anthesis to 3.2 mm long .. Trifolium depauperatum var. truncatum   [pics]

6′ Leaves with petioles 29−90 mm long and blades of leaflets broadly obovate and 5−15.5 mm wide; involucre bractlets fused 0.5−2.5 mm, lobes 5−8.5 mm long; calyx 7−8.5 mm long and petals at anthesis 11−18 mm long .. Trifolium fucatum

1′ Foliage noticeably hairy

7  Blades of leaflets entire; involucre of 2 bractlets that most often 1 or 2 leaflike (sometimes including stipules); petals purple-pink .. Trifolium hirtum   [pics]

7′ Blades of leaflets with teeth; involucre not resembling leaves; petals darker than purple-pink

8  Plants glandular-puberulent (lacking swollen heads), becoming clammy to viscid after collecting; involucre subtending spike wheel-like, 20−25 mm across; calyx (9−)11−13 mm long and corolla 14−18 mm long .. Trifolium obtusiflorum   [pics]

8′ Plants with only nonglandular hairs; involucre subtending spike absent or present, if present at most 11 mm across

9  Inflorescence a ± cylindric to narrowly conic raceme increasing to 60 mm long in fruit; involucre subtending head absent; calyx villous; petals 10−14 mm long, > calyx, crimson .. Trifolium incarnatum   [pics]

9′ Inflorescence a hemispheroid to ovoid spike; petals ≤ calyx, light purple to light purplish red or dark purple

10  Headlike spikes 6.5−9 mm across, of 4−5 whorls of flowers; involucre subtending spike cup-shaped, 8−9-lobed, and awn-tipped; calyx 3.8−4.2 mm long, short-serrate on margin; banner 3.5−4.1 mm long, petals not white at tip .. Trifolium microcephalum   [pics]

10′ Headlike spikes 10−17 mm across, of 5−6 whorls of flowers; involucre subtending spike a vestigial ring of minute teeth; calyx 7.3−8.7 mm long, featherlike; banner 5.7−6.5 mm long, petals white at tip .. Trifolium albopurpureum   [pics]


Vicia L.    VETCH


1  Flowers mostly (1−)2 at a node

2  Leaflets typically 6−9 and alternate; stipules lacking nectary; flowers ca. 5.5 mm long borne at the end of a long panicle 45−50 mm long and often exceeding associated leaf; calyx 3−3.5 mm long .. Vicia ludoviciana subsp. ludoviciana   [pics]

2′ Leaflets 8−12 and mostly in pairs; stipules having nectary on central lobe; flowers > 16 mm long and lacking a peduncle; calyx 10+ mm long

3  Stipules crescent-shaped to semi-circular and jagged, lacking a basal lobe; flower > 20 mm long; calyx > 15 mm long and ratio of lobe to tube length > 1 .. Vicia sativa subsp. sativa   [pics]

3′ Stipules ovate with basal lobe; flower < 20 mm long; calyx < 15 mm long and ratio of lobe to tube length < 1 .. Vicia sativa subsp. nigra   [pics]

1′ Flowers on racemes with 3−many flowers

4 Flowers 4−6 mm across; calyx tube 3−4 mm long; banner 6−7 mm wide; claws of keel < 9 mm long; stalk of ovary (stipe) at anthesis 1−3 mm long

5  Upper lobes of calyx 3.5−5 mm long, lower lobes of calyx 4.3−7 mm long; claws of keel 7−8.5 mm long .. Vicia benghalensis   [pics]

5′ Upper lobes of calyx 0.3−1.1(−2) mm long, lower lobes of calyx 0.8−2.8(−6) mm long; claws of keel 4−5 mm long .. Vicia villosa   [pics]

4′ Flowers 8+ mm across; calyx tube 4.5−6 mm long; banner 7−12 mm wide; claws of keel 9−10 mm long; stalk of ovary (stipe) at anthesis 3.5−4.5 mm long .. Vicia americana subsp. americana   [pics]





Quercus L.    OAK


1  Plants winter-deciduous, trees with tough, pliable leaves having rounded lobes, 45−110(−140) × 25−90(−110) mm; acorn (shell) 37−61 × 13−22 mm, basal scar (7.5−)9−11 mm diameter, cup with densely short-hairy bumpy scales and glabrous inside surface .. Quercus lobata   [pics]

1′ Plants ± evergreen, trees or shrubs maintaining sclerophyllous leaves with or without spinose margins, 15−75 × 8−54 mm; acorns never > 45 mm long and basal scar always < 6.5 mm diameter

2  Blades elliptic or roundish to ovate, coarsely toothed and spinose on margins at tip (entire) and on old leaves upper surface dark green, lower surface glabrescent with hairs mostly persistent along midrib; acorn shell internally densely woolly, scales ± flat and thin often with short-ciliate margins

3 Large trees with dense canopy and thick trunk, 6−20+ m tall; blades usually strongly cupped; acorns maturing and abscising in same year, basal scar typically 5−6 mm diameter .. Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia   [pics]

3′ Shrubs with open canopy, in range < 4 m tall; blades flat; acorns persistent until year 2, basal scar 4−5 mm diameter .. Quercus wislizeni   [pics]

2′ Blades oblong to elliptic or obovate, often toothed to shallowly lobed and teeth sometimes spine-tipped; acorn scales warty (tuberculate) to ± fleshy

4  Blades mildly spinose on margins or not conspicuously spinescent, when young lacking dense “glandular” hairs and having only stellate hairs with widely spreading arms; acorn shell internally glabrous

5  Shrubs to small tree with burl (if fire-affected); stipules typically 5.5−7 mm long, tomentose at least at base; blades minutely stellate-pubescent; filaments 1−2.5 mm long; acorns ovoid to ellipsoid and acute to obtuse at tip .. Quercus berberidifolia   [pics]

5′ Tree with several trunks; stipules < 5 mm long, mostly short-stigose; blades initially with silvery white stellate hairs, often aging glaucous; filaments < 1 mm long; acorns not observed (2-year), ± cylindric and acuminate at tip .. Quercus douglasii   [pics]

4′ Blades conspicuously and sharply spinescent, when young with dense, ephemeral, “glandular” hairs; acorns mature and abscising after second summer (2-year), acorn shell internally densely woolly .. Quercus palmeri   [pics]


NB.  In range not all oaks produce acorns or have them present for identification, and stipules and staminate inflorescences may be useful but are short-lived, so that leaf features must be used in this key, even though blades are highly variable and overlap for several species.  Quercus berberidifolia is the current name of the common scrub oak in range, formerly treated as Q. dumosa Nutt., and all attempts to find in range reliable Q. dumosa were unsuccessful.  Quercus durata Jepson var. gabrielensis Nixon & C. H. Muller is recorded in databases as being in the Hollywood Hills (SMM), but critical study of existing herbarium materials and new field work has not convinced us yet that this is correct.





Frankenia L.    FRANKENIA


.. Frankenia salina   [pics]





Garrya Lindl.    SILK TASSEL BUSH


.. Garrya veatchii   [pics]





Zeltnera G. Mans.    CENTAURY


1  Flowers 13−20 mm across; calyx lobes mostly 7−14 mm long; corolla lobes typically 5(4), 6−7 mm wide; in bud anthers ca. 6 mm long; capsules 10−22 mm long .. Zeltnera venusta   [pics]

1′ Flowers 9−10 mm across; calyx lobes typically 4(5), mostly 4−5.5 mm long; corolla lobes 1.5−2 mm wide; in bud anthers 1−1.5 mm long; capsules 5−8 mm long .. Zeltnera exaltata   [pics]





1  Blades of leaves and bracts palmately lobed (unlobed) and with palmate principal veins from base; stamens all fertile; schizocarp with beaks to 30 mm long

2  Plants scapose; blades kidney-shaped to inversely heart-shaped (obcordate), 11−20 × 12−23 mm, unlobed or shallowly 3-, 5-, or 7-lobed and short-crenate on margins; petals pale pink (appearing white) without darker pigmentation or with fine green lines, extremely easily dislodged; fertile stamens 5, staminodes absent .. Erodium macrophyllum   [pics]

2′ Plants not scapose; blades ± roundish in outline, mostly 20+ mm long; petals rose-purple to reddish purple with darker lines; stamens 10 in 2 whorls .. Geranium

1′ Blades of leaves and bracts pinnately lobed, divided, or compound and with pinnate principal venation; fertile stamens 5, staminodes 5 (inner whorl); schizocarp with beaks typically > 30 mm long .. Erodium




1  Basal leaves pinnately compound

2  Leaflet blades ± ovate and mostly unlobed, 8−25 × 5.5−15 mm, on shoot axes often whitish; umbel mostly 6−10-flowered; petals unequal with 2 shorter petals, short-clawed, 5−9.5 × 1.5−3 mm; schizocarp to 43 mm long, having conspicuous beads of colorless exudate in the troughs and pits at the base of the style .. Erodium moschatum   [pics]

2′ Leaflets blades highly dissected and divided, 25−75 × 15−37 mm, on shoot axes green or crimson; umbel mostly 3−7-flowered; petals equal, not clawed, 5.2−6.4 × 2.1−3.2 mm; schizocarps 33−46 mm long, lacking beads of colorless exudate at base of style .. Erodium cicutarium   [pics]

1′ Basal leaves not obviously pinnately compound

3  Blades ± kidney-shaped cordate at base, 11−20 × 12−23 mm, at most only shallowly lobed; umbel 1−5-flowered; petals pale pink, 8−9 mm long, easily dislodged (fugacious); schizocarps < 40 mm long .. Erodium macrophyllum   [pics]

3′ Blades mostly ovate in outline, 12−110 mm long and mostly > 30 mm wide, divided to dissected; petals reddish purple to rose-lavender

4  Plants with flat rosette and appearing acaulous with 1−several inflorescences; umbel 1−4-flowered; sepals at anthesis 7−10 mm long; petals 10.5−14 × 4.5−7 mm; schizocarps (50−)80−110 mm long .. Erodium botrys   [pics]

4′ Leafy plants with ascending, branched, leafy inflorescences; umbel 3−4-flowered; sepals at anthesis 4.5−5.3 mm long; petals 5.5−6.5 × 2−2.5 mm; schizocarps to 80 mm long .. Erodium brachycarpum   [pics]




1 Plants with branches and cauline leaves; blades deeply lobed, commonly lobes 5 or 7 with principal sinuses at least 2/3 to base; sepals with conspicuous awn 1−2 mm long

2  Blades typically < 35 mm long; sepal awns ± 1 mm long; petals 3−6 mm long, strong rose-purple; style branches 0.4−0.6 mm long .. Geranium dissectum   [pics]

2′ Blades mostly > 35 mm long; sepal awns 1.2−2 mm long; petals 6−8 mm long, pink-lavender; style branches 0.7−1.4 mm long .. Geranium carolinianum   [pics]

1′ Plants appearing mostly as basal rosettes; blades mostly shallowly lobed (rarely exceeding 1/2 to base); sepals without conspicuous awn

3  Leaves appearing alternate; petals > sepals, conspicuously notched (emarginated) .. Geranium molle   [pics]

3′ Leaves appearing usually opposite; petals < sepals, rounded at tip and never notched .. Geranium rotundifolium   [pics]







1  Branches spinescent, having 1−3(−5) spines per node; berry covered with radiating, hard bristles

2  Internodal prickles and bristles present, blade length > width, nodal spines generally 9−15 mm long; flowers 25−30 mm long, with 4 erect red sepals and 4 erect red petals; berries when mature blackish .. Ribes speciosum   [pics]

2′ Internodal prickles and bristles absent, blade length < width, nodal spines generally 4−8 mm long; flowers 10−18 mm long, with 5 reflexed red sepals and 5 erect petals white with rose-colored bases; berries when mature reddish .. Ribes californicum var. hesperium   [pics]

1′ Branches not spinescent, lacking nodal spines; berry lacking hard bristles

3  Foliage essentially glabrous and sometimes with inconspicuous glandular hairs, ± odorless; stipules if present inconspicuous, upper surface of blade smooth; flowers yellow .. Ribes aureum var. gracillimum   [pics]

3′ Foliage with conspicuous nonglandular and glandular hairs, strongly aromatic; stipules 1.7−4.3 mm long along petiole; upper surface of blade cobblestonelike with sunken principal veins

4  Lower surface of blade whitish due to dense hairs; flower buds (sepals) dark pink to purplish red; petals roundish, ovary at anthesis ± 2 mm long; glandular hairs on berry with colorless heads .. Ribes malvaceum   [pics]

4′ Lower surface of blade green; flower buds (sepals) white or tinged pink; petals depressed-ovate to spade-shaped, ovary at anthesis 2.2−2.8 mm long; glandular hairs on berry purple with pinkish heads .. Ribes indecorum   [pics]







1  Dense, feathery mats of flexible submersed shoots; leaves narrowly linear, (5−)10−20(−25) × (0.5−)1−1.5(−2) mm, minutely toothed on margins, with 1 or more minute teeth at tip .. Najas guadalupensis subsp. guadalupensis   [pics]

1′ Sparsely branched, stiff and brittle, of somewhat spinescent submersed shoots; leaves pinnately lobed to toothed, oblong to linear, 5−30(−39) × 4−5 mm, with 5−13 toothlike lobes per margin and 2−4 prickles along lower midrib .. Najas marina   [pics]





Hypericum L.    ST. JOHN′S WORT


.. Hypericum canariense   [pics]





1  Plants 90−170 cm tall, aquatic of permanently wet soil with thick, creeping rhizomes; blades 10−33 mm wide; flowers 70−100 mm across, bright yellow; style branches petal-like, covering stamens .. Iris pseudacorus   [pics]

1′ Plants 30−60 cm tall, growing in fully terrestrial habitat with compact rhizomes; blades 2−7.5 mm wide (folded); flowers dark violet, blue-violet, or pale blue (white); style slender within filament column .. Sisyrinchium bellum   [pics]


NB.  Several other Iridaceae have been found in range, where they were intentionally cultivated, especially where plants persisted after the residence was destroyed by fire, but which have not escaped from the locality, e.g., Chasmanthe floribunda (Salisb.) R. E. Brown.  Showy irids have also been planted at remote memorials, presumably of beloved pets.





Juglans L.    WALNUT


.. Juglans californica   [pics]





Juncus L.    RUSH


1  Annuals ......Juncus bufonius

2  Flowers widely spaced in canopy with only 1 at each fork of inflorescence .. Juncus bufonius var. bufonius   [pics]

2′ Flowers in dense, ± coiled cymes ......Juncus bufonius var. congestus

1′ Perennial herbs with rhizomes

3  Inflorescence appearing lateral (technically always terminal), with the lowest inflorescence bract resembling a vertical continuation of the stem

4  Flowers inserted singly, with each subtended by a pair of bractlets

5  Stems densely clumped, blue green; anthers about as long as the filaments .. Juncus patens   [pics]

5′ Stems not densely clumped; anthers much longer than the filaments

6  Stems compressed, and plants never 100 cm tall, 1.5–3.5 mm diameter, tough and fibrous, twisted; capsules acute .. Juncus balticus var. montanus   [pics]

6′ Stems cylindric, 100−200 cm tall, 2−5 mm diameter, lacking leaf blades, erect and produced in a linear series from a creeping rhizome, in shade of southern oak woodland; capsules obtuse .. Juncus textilis   [pics]

4′ Flowers in small, headlike, bracteate clusters; hemispheric plants maritime (next to coastal shoreline) in seeps, a rigid, pincushionlike plant having skin-piercing sharp tips on the erect inflorescence bract .. Juncus acutus subsp. leopoldii   [pics]

3′ Inflorescence obviously terminal, with the lowest inflorescence bract spreading and not resembling a continuation of the stem

7  Leaves overlapping in 2 ranks (resembling an iris); stigmatic style branches exserted

8  Internodes of panicle 10−60 mm long; anthers much longer than filaments; capsule shorter than perianth segments .. Juncus phaeocephalus var. paniculatus   [pics]

8′ Internodes of panicle typically < 15 mm long; anthers shorter than filaments; capsule longer than perianth segments .. Juncus xiphioides   [pics]

7′ Leaves not overlapping in 2 ranks (unlike an iris), with lobes (auricles) at top of sheath; stigmatic style branches included

9  Stems with conspicuous wrinkling; leaves cylindric; heads 4−6(−10)-flowered .. Juncus dubius   [pics]

9′ Stems without conspicuous wrinkling; leaves flat; heads 3−5-flowered .. Juncus macrophyllus   [pics]


NB.  Greater effort is needed to study populations of Juncus in range.  There are first of all several unresolved issues with determining correct names, including the disposition of Juncus mexicanus Willd. as it relates to J. balticus, J. bufonius var. bufonius as it relates to J. bufonius var. congestus, and J. dubius as it relates to J. rugulosus Engelm.  In addition, it is still unclear whether J. torreyi Cov. or any form of J. effusus is technically in range.





Triglochin L.    ARROW-GRASS


.. Triglochin maritima   [pics]





1  Flowers 2 at node (typically 1 per axil), appearing like a leafy raceme

2  Shrubs 100−200 cm tall; foliage velveteen with long, branched hairs (dendritic) and somewhat sticky from sessile glandular hairs; flowers 10+ mm diameter, on slender pedicels 11−35 mm long; calyx 5-lobed, lobes subequal, 10−18 mm long, with dendritic hairs; corolla 5-lobed, 20−35 mm, very pale lavender (white), lower lobe liplike .. Lepechinia fragrans   [pics]

2′ Herbs, decumbent to prostrate, rooting at lower nodes; calyx 4−5.5 mm long; corolla 2-lipped

3  Blades hirsute to short-hirsute and conspicuously gland-dotted with glandular hairs, slightly aromatic like peppermint (Mentha); pedicels 6−10 mm long; calyx 5-lobed; corolla 6−11 mm long, white to pale lavender-pink .. Clinopodium douglasii   [pics]

3′ Blades sparsely hairy and not gland-dotted (essentially lacking glandular hairs), not aromatic; pedicels 1.5−4 mm long; calyx short 2-lipped, conspicuously pilose, lips rounded; corolla 13−21 mm long, violet-blue .. Scutellaria tuberosa   [pics]

1′ Flowers more than 2 at each node (mostly 2+ per axil)

4 Flowers in loose axillary cymes, each cyme with 4−12 flowers on flexible pedicels; corolla deep blue-violet; long filaments 17.5−22 mm long; annual with shoots strongly aromatic like vinegar (propionic acid) .. Trichostema lanceolatum   [pics]

4′ Flowers appearing whorled at node and mostly in dense clusters = condensed axillary cymes paired at node and often subtended by conspicuous bracts (verticils)

5  Calyx with 10 hooked, spinescent teeth; corolla 6−8 mm long, white .. Marrubium vulgare   [pics]

5′ Calyx 5-lobed; corolla > 8 mm long

6  Shrubs with linear, strongly inrolled leaves, leaves often tufted at nodes on unexpanded axillary shoots; corolla blue-violet to rose-violet (white) aging deep violet, tomentose to woolly; stamens 25−32(−40) mm long and exserted .. Trichostema lanatum   [pics]

6′ Corolla not tomentose to woolly; stamens < 12 mm long

7  Filaments 2 .. Salvia

7′ Filaments 4, typically with the lower stamen pair shorter than the upper pair

8  Corolla strongly 2-lipped

9  Perennial herbs with petiolate leaves, strongly aromatic with glandular hairs and conspicuous long hairs; calyx teeth spine-tipped; corolla in bud lacking purple hairs; nutlets rounded at top .. Stachys

9′ Annuals with petiolate leaves fused across node (amplexicaulous), not aromatic and puberulent (short-strigose) to glabrate; calyx teeth not spine-tipped; corolla with purple hairs; nutlets truncate .. Lamium amplexicaule   [pics]

8′ Corolla weakly 2-lipped or somewhat radially symmetric with lobes

10  Flowers aggregated into a terminal headlike cluster on stem .. Monardella

10′ Flowers either in well-defined verticils subtended by leaves or verticils congested to form a terminal spike .. Mentha


Mentha L.    MINT


1  Leaves and leaflike bracts villous to short-villous (tomentose); dense, axillary flower clusters at nodes (verticils)

2  Leaflike bracts subtending verticil only slightly longer than flowers, sessile, blades essentially entire, often reflexed .. Mentha pulegium   [pics]

2′ Leaflike bracts subtending verticil several times longer than flowers, petiolate, blades low-serrate, typically spreading .. Mentha canadensis

1′ Leaves and bracts mostly lacking nonglandular hairs; dense flower clusters mostly appearing like terminal spikes and not leafy

3  Pedicel 1.5−2.5 mm long; calyx 3.5−4.5 mm long; corolla 5−6 mm long .. Mentha × piperita   [pics]

3′ Pedicel ± 1 mm long; calyx 1.5−2 mm long; corolla 3−3.5 mm long .. Mentha spicata   [pics]


Monardella Benth.    BEE BALM


1  Woody perennials, many-stemmed at base; shoots tomentose to woolly tomentose, white-hairy on lower surface of blades; headlike cymes terminal on canopy shoots; flowers ca. 12 mm across; lower lip of corolla 6−7.5 mm long, light lavender .. Monardella hypoleuca subsp. hypoleuca   [pics]

1′ Annuals, 1−3-stemmed at base; shoots densely short-strigose to canescent or puberulent; headlike cymes several in dichasial array; flowers 3−4 mm across; lower lip of corolla 4.3−5.5 mm long, violet with red-purple spots .. Monardella breweri subsp. lanceolata


Salvia L.    SAGE


1  Shrubs

2  Foliage mostly below 50 cm tall, with erect inflorescences 15−150 cm long; blades ovate to widely lanceolate, grayish and densely short-tomentose and with glandular hairs producing a strongly aromatic but fetid odor; inflorescence a paniclelike array with cymes paired at each node, each cyme to 6-flowered and verticils not developed; corolla with diminutive upper lip ca. 1 × 2 mm, corolla white to pale violet .. Salvia apiana   [pics]

2′ Foliage throughout the branched canopy, inflorescences typically < 20 cm long; blades narrowly elliptic to oblong or lanceolate, strongly aromatic but not fetid; inflorescence with well-defined verticils; corolla clearly 2-lipped, moderate or light purple to pale lavender (nearly white)

3  Blades 14−30 mm wide, gray-green to ashy gray, densely puberulent having highly branched hairs (dendritic) and sparser, short glandular hairs; calyx 1-lipped .. Salvia leucophylla   [pics]

3′ Blades 9.5−18 mm wide, green, appressed-canescent with scattered, short glandular hairs; calyx 2-lipped .. Salvia mellifera   [pics]

1′ Herbaceous plants with erect inflorescence having well-defined verticils

4  Annuals, 3−85 cm tall; leaves 1−2-pinnately dissected (compound), mostly basal; verticils 8−20 mm across; corolla spreading, < 15 mm long, strong blue-violet .. Salvia columbariae   [pics]

4′ Evergreen perennial herbs, forming clonal colonies; axes conspicuously glandular-pubescent; leaves simple, basal and cauline, crenate on margins and with winged petiole; verticils 35+ mm across; corolla ascending, 15−35 mm long, crimson (salmon) .. Salvia spathacea   [pics]


Stachys L.    HEDGE NETTLE


1  Stems and lower surfaces of blades whitish and densely woolly to tomentose; verticils with 6−14 flowers; calyx 6.5−8.5 mm long; corolla 10−13 mm long, white but lower lip with 3 reddish purple lines, lower lip 4−5 mm long .. Stachys albens   [pics]

1′ Stems and lower surfaces of blades pilose to villous + having hispid hairs along stem edges and blade veins; verticils with 4−8 flowers; corolla throat reddish purple to light purple or lavender and white to pinkish lower lip with dark spots and bands, lower lip 6.5−8.5 mm long

2  Blades crenate; calyx 5−6 mm long; corolla 18−20 mm long; corolla tube + throat 7−10 mm long and exserted several mm from calyx, gradually tapered and throat not saclike .. Stachys bullata   [pics]

2′ Blades regularly serrate; calyx 6−7 mm long; corolla 14−17 mm long; tube + throat 6−7.5 mm long and not exserted much from calyx, with dimple defining throat with saclike base .. Stachys rigida var. quercetorum   [pics]


Trichostema L.   BLUECURLS


1  Shrubs 100–250 cm tall; blades linear with inrolled margins (revolute); inflorescences covered with thick, shaggy, purplish wool .. Trichostema lanatum   [pics]

1′ Annuals < 100 cm tall; blades generally elliptic to lanceolate, margins not inrolled; inflorescences with shorter, single, colorless hairs .. Trichostema lanceolatum   [pics]







.. Umbellularia californica   [pics]





1  Plants 120−300 cm tall (when flowering); cauline leaves whorled and appearing whorled in clusters of 4−16; flowers 70−115 mm across, pendent; tepals 67−100 mm long, yellow and orange with conspicuous large spots having light ring around dark center and also reddish dots; filaments 37−49 mm long, bearing versatile anthers (13−)20−32 mm long .. Lilium humboldtii subsp. ocellatum   [pics]

1′ Plants to 100 cm tall (when flowering); cauline leaves few and alternate; flowers 28−70 mm across; tepals 20−52 mm long; filaments 6−14 mm long, bearing anthers < 19 mm long

2  Basal leaves to 9; raceme with nodding flowers having 6 dark, wine red and green (brown) tepals; tepals lacking nectaries and glabrous; anthers versatile .. Fritillaria biflora var. biflora   [pics]

2′ Basal leaves typically 1; cyme with flowers having distinct sepals and petals of light pastel colors or white; each petal with a nectary and hairs on inner surface; anthers basifixed .. Calochortus


Calochortus Pursh   MARIPOSA LILY


1  Flowers nodding with ± closed perianth, 16−25 mm across, white; sepals (10−)13−18 mm long .. Calochortus albus   [pics]

1′ Flowers erect and perianth open, 30+ mm across, pigmented or white with pigmented spots or markings; sepals 20−50 mm long

2  Perianth bright yellow with reddish bands

3  Blades linear (basal leaf) to very narrowly lanceolate (cauline leaves), 50–200(–400) × to 13 mm; petals (21−)35−50 × (23−)25−33 mm, lacking reddish mark above nectary; filaments 10−14 mm long; anthers 6−15 mm long, mauve to purple or strong violet .. Calochortus clavatus var. pallidus   [pics]

3′ Blades linear, 200–300 mm long, to 1.5 mm wide at midblade; petals 28−30 × 25−27 mm, having reddish mark above nectary; filaments ± 10 mm long; anthers 6−7 mm long, deep violet .. Calochortus clavatus var. gracilis   [pics]

2′ Perianth not bright yellow, although some with yellowish markings or yellow hairs

4  Perianth light to deep lilac or pink-lavender, mostly lacking markings except a reddish purple spot near nectary gland, with scattered white to pale lilac hairs on upper surface; nectary gland not sunken and lacking margin, either lacking hairs or with dense cover of branched hairs; anthers 6.5−9.5 mm long, very deep violet .. Calochortus splendens   [pics]

4′ Perianth white to rose with conspicuous markings or spots; anthers pinkish, cream-colored, or pinkish yellow

5  Perianth white to lavender; nectary gland not depressed or slightly depressed, hairs thick and wavy

6   Petals at base white to light lavender with conspicuous purple spot and above midpoint white often changing to or aging darker lavender to lavender purple, purple spot 6.5−19 mm long; nectary gland not depressed and lacking margin, oblong to somewhat round, ca. 3−4.5 mm, yellowish green and densely hairy, the hairs to 2 mm long and yellowish and purplish .. Calochortus catalinae   [pics]

6′ Petals below midpoint white to creamy white, above midpoint blushed lavender with a central marking; nectary gland slightly depressed and lacking margin, rectangular to squarish, 5–6 × 3–5 mm, yellowish green and densely hairy, the hairs reddish or reddish at tips and whitish to yellow-orange at bases or purplish red at tips and yellow-orange at base .. Calochortus venustus   [pics]

5′ Perianth 3-colored with deep reddish purple markings at base below nectary gland, with hairs of middle band yellow having purplish red bases and tips; nectary gland circular and depressed or slightly depressed

7  Petals 28−50 × (20–)25−54 mm, with creamy white middle band and a rose lavender to light purple upper band, sometimes ciliate on outer margin, the hairs of upper band purple; nectary gland 2.5–3.5 mm long, hairless or nearly so, densely bordered with a ring of yellow-fringed scales and hairs converging over gland and obscure it; filaments 9–13.5 mm long, whitish to pale lavender; anthers 10–18.5 mm long .. Calochortus plummerae   [pics]

7′ Petals 30−40 × 30−39 mm, with creamy white middle band and a purplish red dash at base of each hair and rose lavender to light purple upper band, conspicuously ciliate on outer margin; nectary gland 3.5–4 mm wide, with hairs on gland and around margin of gland, the marginal hairs dense and converging over gland, 2.5−4 mm long, yellow, some forked, ± fused at base in several series, the hairs on gland surface 4−4.8 mm long, thickish, whitish translucent; filaments (8)12−13.5 mm long, whitish and dotted or dashed purplish red at base and tip; anthers ca. 10 mm long .. Calochortus weedii var. intermedius   [pics]





Linum L.    FLAX


.. Linum micranthum   [pics]





Mentzelia L.    BLAZING STAR


1  Perennial herbs mostly 80−180 cm tall, typically with an erect principal shoot; flowers ± 95 mm across; petals 60−64 × 19−21 mm; stamens to 200 in 4 or 5 pseudowhorls, lacking staminodes, filaments 34−50 mm long; capsules 30−35 mm long .. Mentzelia laevicaulis   [pics]

1′ Annuals 10−80 cm tall, with an hemispheric canopy; flowers 4.5−6 mm across; petals 2.5−4(−4.5) × 1.5−1.8(−2) mm; stamens 10−20 in whorls of 5, the outer whorl = staminodes notched at tip, filaments 1.6−1.8 mm long; capsules 6−13 mm long .. Mentzelia micrantha   [pics]





1  Shoots with lower leaves opposite but canopy leaves and bracts helically alternate; hypanthium cylindric at or after anthesis; sepals, petals, and stamens 5−6 .. Lythrum

1′ Shoots with leaves and bracts only opposite decussate; hypanthium bell-shaped; sepals, petals, and stamens (3−)4(−5)

2  Leaves short-petiolate; flowers 1 per axil; petals white to rose; capsule dehiscent by 4 valves .. Rotala ramosior

2′ Leaves sessile and clasping; flowers (1−)3−5 per axil; petals rose-purple to strong reddish purple; capsule spheric, irregularly dehiscent .. Ammannia coccinea   [pics]




1  Perennial herb with woody rhizome; flowers 7−12 mm across, heterostylous (2 flower forms); petals orchid to light purple .. Lythrum californicum   [pics]

1′ Annual (biennial) rooting along prostrate stems; flowers 5−7 mm across, homostylous (1 flower form); petals pink to rose .. Lythrum hyssopifolia   [pics]





1  Shrub to 400 cm tall; stipules mostly 1−2.5(−3.5) mm long; terminal panicles of lateral cymes; bracteoles 1−3 subtending calyx (epicalyx) distinct .. Malacothamnus fasciculatus var. fasciculatus   [pics]

1′ Annuals or biennial to perennial herbs; stipules mostly > 2.5 mm long; flowers not in panicles

2  Perennial herbs with flowers helically alternate on terminal, long racemes; bracteoles subtending calyx absent; petals fan-shaped, 8.5–23 × 4.5–15 mm, light purple with glossy white claw white-hairy on margins .. Sidalcea sparsifolia   [pics]

2′ Herbs with flowers axillary and solitary or in several-flowered condensed cymes; bracteoles subtending or fused to calyx (epicalyx) present

3  Blades deeply palmately lobed; petals reddish orange; mericarps with two projecting horns and often 2-seeded .. Modiola caroliniana   [pics]

3′ Blades shallowly palmately lobed; petals never reddish orange; mericarps lacking horns and only 1-seeded

4  Perennial herbs, decumbent and many-stemmed at base; shoots densely covered with whitish, scalelike stellate hairs aging ± tannish; petals creamy white to pale yellow .. Malvella leprosa   [pics]

4′ Annuals and biennial herbs, sometimes robust to 205 cm tall; shoots green but having unbranched hairs to stellate hairs; petals white to lavender or purplish pink with or without stripes .. Malva


Malva L.    MALLOW


1  Stipules 2.5−7.5 mm long; flowers < 14 mm across; stamens 15−20

2  Blades long-pilose on lower surface; bracteoles on calyx linear, 2.5−4 × 0.2−0.4 mm; petals 3.2−6 × 2−2.3 mm, lacking obvious nectar lines (5−6 faint veins), with papillae on claw; schizocarp with (9−)10−11 stellate-puberulent mericarps .. Malva parviflora   [pics]

2′ Blades with scattered unbranched hairs and stellate hairs on lower surface; bracteoles on calyx ovate to deltate, 3.5−4.5 × 2.5−3.2 mm; petals 10−12 × 4−6 mm, with 3 deep rose to deep purplish pink veins appearing above base and forking above, glabrous; schizocarp with 7−9 glabrous (short-hairy) mericarps .. Malva nicaeensis   [pics]

1′ Stipules typically (4−)7−14 mm long, mostly with rounded basal lobe; foliage with stellate hairs having 1−4(−12) arms; flowers 25−33 mm across; petals (10−)15−19 × 8−9.5 mm; stamens > 40; schizocarp 10−12 mm across, forming 7−10 glabrous mericarps .. Malva pseudolavatera   [pics]





Toxicoscordion Rydb.   DEATH CAMAS


.. Toxicoscordion fremontii   [pics]





1  Shoots ± prostrate or decumbent with principal shoots radiating from plant base, with flowers produced along spreading shoots

2  Stems angled or low-winged; sepals 4−6.5 mm long at anthesis .. Calandrinia

2′ Stems cylindric; sepals < 4 mm long at anthesis

3  Blades fleshy, 2−3.5 mm thick; flowers showy, 7−10 mm across, with 5 red-purple petals, 5 stamens, and a pistil with 3 stigmas; capsules dehiscing by 3 valves, containing many dull gray seeds with tiny whitish swelling (strophiole) at hilum .. Cistanthe maritima   [pics]

3′ Blades < 1.5 mm thick; flowers inconspicuous, with 3 tiny white petals, 1(−3) stamen, and a pistil with 2 stigmas; capsules dehiscing by 2 valves, containing 2−5 glossy black seeds, lacking a swelling (strophiole) at hilum .. Calyptridium monandrum   [pics]

1′ Shoots lacking radiating shoots from a single plant base

4  Vegetative plant with well-developed basal rosette, with erect to ascending, axillary inflorescences

5  Inflorescence 1-flowered, with a whorl of 8−9 awl-shaped bracts subtending pedicel; flowers 48−52 mm across; petals 10−12; stamens 40−50 in 2−3 series .. Lewisia rediviva var. rediviva   [pics]

5′ Inflorescence several−many-flowered, below the lowest flowers having a pair of bracts (cauline leaves), separate, partially fused, or completely fused around axis; flowers 3−10 mm across; petals (3)5; stamens 5 .. Claytonia

4′ Vegetative plant forming miniature mat, with several stems from each node, shoots having only cauline leaves; flowers minute, often never opening, 1 mm long; petals 3, colorless; stamens 3 .. Montia fontana   [pics]


Calandrinia Kunth


1  Flowers 8−15 mm across; sepals deltate, 4−5 mm increasing to 5.5−8 mm long in fruit; corolla lobes 3.5−6 mm long; stamens 3−7; capsule to 12 mm long, projecting at least 2 mm from the longer sepal; seeds 0.9−1.1 mm long with bumpy seed coat .. Calandrinia breweri   [pics]

1′ Flowers 13−18 mm across; sepals ovate, 5−6.5 mm increasing slightly in fruit; corolla lobes 6.8−8 mm long; stamens 6−13(−15); capsule about same length as the longer sepal; seeds 1.2−1.5 mm long with smooth seed coat .. Calandrinia ciliata   [pics]


Claytonia L.    SPRING BEAUTY


1  Blades ± flat and long-petiolate (sometimes indistinct from blade), green and glabrous; bracts subtending inflorescence (2 fused “cauline leaves”) encircling axis (perfoliate)

2  Blades ovate, obovate, rounded deltate, kidney-shaped, rhombic, or trowel-shaped (linear on diminutive specimens); capsules 2−2.5 mm long; seeds 1.2−1.8 × 0.9−1.5 mm, glossy dark reddish brown to very dark brown and smooth and with epidermal cells clearly visible and raised .. Claytonia perfoliata subsp. mexicana   [pics]

2′ Blades mostly linear, glaucous and often gray, beige, or pinkish; capsules 1.5−2 mm long; seeds 1.1−1.25 × 0.8−1.1 mm, glossy dark brown to black, smooth with epidermal cells clearly visible but not raised

3  Bracts subtending inflorescence fused, D-shaped and commonly 2-toothed; corolla 1.4−2.1 mm long .. Claytonia parviflora subsp. parviflora   [pics]

3′ Bracts subtending inflorescence somewhat fused at base but appearing like 2 and not fused; corolla 2.2−3.4 mm long .. Claytonia parviflora subsp. viridis   [pics]

1′ Blades cylindric-linear and sessile, glaucous; bracts subtending inflorescence (2 fused “cauline leaves”) V-shaped or horn-shaped

4  Leaves 10−40 mm long; inflorescence < 10-flowered, with peduncle 10−30 mm long; flowers 2.5−4.5 mm across; petals 2−4 mm long, white often with faint pink veins; filaments 1−1.7 mm long; seeds glossy black .. Claytonia exigua subsp. exigua   [pics]

4′ Leaves 50−80 mm long; inflorescence 10−15-flowered, with peduncle 30−90 mm long; flowers 6−7.5(−10) mm across; petals 4.5−6 mm long, light pink to pale or light lavender with purplish pink veins; filaments 3.8−4.3 mm long; seeds dark brown and finely pebbled .. Claytonia gypsophiloides   [pics]





Ficus L.    FIG


.. Ficus carica   [pics]





Morella Lour.


.. Morella californica   [pics]





Anagallis L.    PIMPERNEL


.. Anagallis arvensis   [pics]





Eucalyptus L’Hér.  GUM TREE


1  Juvenile leaves opposite decussate and others helically alternate and sessile to subsessile; flowers mostly solitary in leaf axils, buds 18−25 mm diameter, strongly glaucous, open flowers 40−50 mm across; hypanthium 2- or 4-ridged; capsule conic to hemispheric, 18−25 mm diameter .. Eucalyptus globulus   [pics]

1′ Juvenile and adults leaves only helically alternate and petiolate, petioles 9−22 mm long; umbels axillary with (2−)4−10 flowers, 20−25 mm across; buds not glaucous; hypanthium ± smooth; capsule ± spheroid, 6−8 mm

2  Buds ca. 5 mm diameter, cap with nipplelike tip; capsule 6 mm long .. Eucalyptus camaldulensis var. camaldulensis   [pics]

2′ Buds 6−8 mm diameter, cap ± blunt at tip; capsule 6.5−7 mm long .. Eucalyptus camaldulensis var. obtusa





1  Plants creeping, trailing stems sometimes buried; inflorescence headlike; flowers sessile; stigmas included, slender (linear); fruit with winglike lobes .. Abronia

1′ Plants lacking trailing stems; inflorescence appearing terminal with opposite decussate branches; flowers on pedicels 1−8 mm long; stigmas exserted, hemispheric-capitate; fruit smooth or with angles but lacking wings .. Mirabilis


Abronia Juss.    SAND-VERBENA


1  Perennial forming adventitious roots on stems buried in sand; plant axes viscid; blades fleshy to 3 mm thick and somewhat glaucous; head of flowers 15−20 mm across; flowers dark purplish red, perianth (calyx) 10−12 mm long; 1-seeded fruit 10−14 mm long .. Abronia maritima   [pics]

1′ Annual, taprooted and without adventitious roots on stems; plant axes not viscid; leaves barely fleshy and not glaucous; head of flowers 25−30 mm across; flowers light to bright lavender or magenta to fuchsia with white (yellowish) center, perianth (calyx) 12−18 mm long; 1-seeded fruit 7−10 mm long .. Abronia umbellata subsp. umbellata   [pics]


Mirabilis L.    FOUR O’CLOCK


1  Plants 50−150 cm tall; paired leaves of somewhat different sizes, not glandular; perianth (calyx) tubular and 30−50 mm long; fruit 7.5−9 mm long, 5-angled and bluntly 5-ribbed .. Mirabilis jalapa var. jalapa   [pics]

1′ Plants < 40 cm tall; paired leaves essentially equal, glandular-hairy; perianth (calyx) funnel-shaped and 11−16 mm long: fruit 4.5−4.8 mm long, lacking ribs but sometimes with 10 pale stripes .. Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia   [pics]





Nymphaea L.    WATERLILY


.. Nymphaea mexicana   [pics]





1  Winter-deciduous trees; leaves odd-1-pinnately compound with 5−11 leaflets; corolla absent or of 2 free petals, to which stamens are not fused; samaras oblanceolate to narrowly obovate .. Fraxinus

1′ Evergreen small trees or large shrubs; leaves simple and tough; corolla 4(−5)-lobed with stamens fused at top of tube; drupe fleshy

2  Shoots densely covered with appressed, umbrellalike scales (peltate); blades narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, mostly 25−100 × 8−22 mm; drupes 9−20 mm long, glaucous (olive) .. Olea europaea   [pics]

2′ Shoots essentially glabrous; blades ovate to broadly ovate, mostly 65−110 × 40−55 mm; drupes 8−8.5 mm long, not glaucous .. Ligustrum lucidum   [pics]


Fraxinus L.    ASH


1  Small trees or shrub of chaparral; shoots essentially glabrous (inconspicuous reddish hairs); flowers bisexual, fragrant like lilac, Syringa); petals 2, 5−7.5 mm long, cream; stamens 2, alternate with petals; samaras narrowly obovate, 23−28 × 6−8 mm (with mature seed), never notched at tip .. Fraxinus dipetala   [pics]

1′ Trees of riparian or oak woodlands; shoots generally with hairs at least on young growth; dioecious and wind-pollinated; petals absent; stamens 2−3(−4); samaras oblanceolate, 28−40 × 4−8 mm, often notched at tip

2  Leaves with 3−5 pairs of lateral leaflets, leaflets low-serrate, with short, stiff hairs along lower midrib; calyx with 2−4 unequal teeth; anthers 3−5.8 mm long; wings on samara only above midpoint .. Fraxinus uhdei   [pics]

2′ Leaves with 2−3 pairs of lateral leaflets, leaflets entire, mostly short-tomentose and tomentose (sometimes glabrate); calyx with 4(−6) teeth; anthers 1.7−2.6 mm long; wings on samara almost to base .. Fraxinus velutina   [pics]





1  Sepals and petals 5(−6); stamens 10(−12); hypanthium absent; capsule ± indehiscent, narrowly funnel-shaped to cylindric, 15−35 × 4−5.5 mm, with 5 persistent sepals, top truncate with 5 U-shaped hairy ridges; aquatic perennial often with floating shoots .. Ludwigia peploides subsp. peploides   [pics]

1′ Sepals and petals 4; stamens 8; hypanthium typically present; capsule dehiscent

2  Stigmas strongly 4-lobed to club-shaped

3  Anthers versatile, stamens ± monomorphic .. Oenothera

3′ Anthers basifixed, stamens most often dimorphic

4  Sepals erect, always separate; seed with tuft of silky hairs on end .. Epilobium

4′ Sepals reflexed, often remaining partially connected; seed lacking tuft of silky hairs .. Clarkia

2′ Stigmas spheroidal to hemispheric

5  Petals white; stamens monomorphic, with white filaments and cream-colored anthers (flushed rosy red)

6  Flowers open for pollination (chasmogamous); sepals 7.5−9 mm long and petals (3−)6.5−8.5 mm long; hemispheric stigma weakly 4-lobed forming cup; stems with pimplelike bumps .. Eremothera boothii subsp. decorticans   [pics]

6′ Flowers never opening (cleistogamous); sepals, petals (unopened perianth) to ca. 2 mm long; stigma small and touching anther .. Epilobium campestre

5′ Petals and stamens yellow, petals sometimes spotted with orange or reddish and fading reddish; stamens dimorphic in 2 series; stigmas conspicuously capitate

7  Stems wandlike and photosynthetic; leaves pinnately lobed; hypanthium with lobed disc; pedicel present beneath straight, reflexed fruit .. Eulobus californicus   [pics]

7′ Stems not wandlike and frequently aging peeling in lustrous tan to brownish strips; hypanthium not lobed; fruits sessile, ascending, spreading or twisted to coiled

8  Plants wispy with only linear to narrowly lanceolate cauline leaves 4−15(−35) × 1−3 mm; flowers formed only in canopy; seeds 0.5−0.9 × 0.25−0.3 mm .. Camissonia strigulosa   [pics]

8′ Plants leafy with basal and cauline leaves; flowers formed within basal rosette and on ascending or radiating shoots; seeds typically > 0.9 × 0.5 mm .. Camissoniopsis


Camissoniopsis W. L. Wagner & Hoch   SUN CUP


1  Perennial often ± woody at base with prostrate branches and silvery white foliage, growing on coastal sand dunes

2  Petals 10−20 mm long; styles 12−23 mm long .. Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia subsp. suffruticosa   [pics]

2′ Petals 6−11 mm long; styles 6−9 mm long ......Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia subsp. cheiranthifolia

1′ Annuals; foliage green or somewhat grayish (when densely hairy) and often reddish on margins and at tip

3  Shoots and inflorescences lacking glandular hairs, blades mostly villous to short-strigose; flowers 14−22 mm across; hypanthium 2−4(−7.5) mm long; petals (4.2−)6.5−11.5(−15) mm long; ovary villous; stigma positioned well above anthers; capsules straight or twisted to sigmoidal or sometimes coiled 1 time (rarely perennial but not woody at base .. Camissoniopsis bistorta   [pics]

3′ Shoots or inflorescences with some type of glandular hairs; flowers typically 4−12 mm across with petals to 5.5 mm long (C. ignota flowers to 18 mm across with petals to 8 mm long); hypanthium 0.8−2.5 mm long; ovary with various types of hairs and mostly having some glandular hairs; stigma generally positioned among anthers (if longer, petals < 4 mm long); capsules bent, flexuous, sigmoidal, or coiled 1−several times

4  Plant generally spreading with decumbent basal branches and sometimes an erect main shoot from basal rosette; hypanthium and ovary villous; capsule valves 1.8−2.2 mm wide at base .. Camissoniopsis lewisii

4′ Plant with basal branches spreading and decumbent or ascending and with main stem erect or absent; capsule valves generally < 1.8 mm wide at base

5  Blades lanceolate to elliptic; sepals < 2.5 mm long; capsule valves generally > 1 mm wide at base

6  Plant generally with erect main shoot and 1+ ascending branches; petals generally with 1 or 2 reddish dots at base of petals .. Camissoniopsis intermedia

6′ Plant generally spreading with decumbent basal branches; petals generally lacking reddish dots at base of petals .. Camissoniopsis micrantha   [pics]

5′ Sepals > 2.5 mm long; mature capsule valves generally < 1 mm wide at base

7  Blades of cauline leaves narrowly ovate; hypanthium and ovary conspicuously glandular-pubescent; petals often notched or jagged; capsules bent to sigmoidal or coiled 1−2 times .. Camissoniopsis hirtella

7′ Blades of cauline leaves elliptic or oblong to lanceolate, mostly strigose to short-strigose; hypanthium and ovary sparsely hirsute (hirtellous) and sometimes minutely glandular-pubescent; petals not notched or jagged; capsules flexuous to sigmoidal or coiled up to 5 times .. Camissoniopsis ignota


Clarkia Pursh    CLARKIA, GODETIA


1  Hypanthium 0.5−1.5 mm long; petals white to pale cream-colored fading rose; flower buds pendent .. Clarkia epilobioides   [pics]

1′ Hypanthium 1.8+ mm long; petals light to dark purple, wine red, reddish purple, or lavender above midpoint if white at base, often with darker flecks or basal spot

2  In bud, hypanthium, sepals, and ovary pilose, some hairs purple; petals conspicuously clawed; capsule valves with pilose hairs and dried glandular hairs .. Clarkia unguiculata   [pics]

2′ In bud, hypanthium, sepals, and ovary puberulent to short-strigose; petals fan-shaped but not clawed; capsule valves often short-strigose, never pilose or glandular-hairy

3  Inflorescence axis and flower buds both erect; stigma lobes deep purple (rarely whitish with purple margins)

4  Sepals 6−9 × 2 mm; petals 5.5−15 × 4−10 mm, light to deep purple with darker basal spot or wine-red without basal spot; filaments of long stamens 2.5−3.3 mm long; stigma lobes ± 1 mm long; capsule 16−21 × ± 2.3 mm .. Clarkia purpurea subsp. quadrivulnera   [pics]

4′ Sepals 15−18 × 3−4 mm; petals 15.5−27 × 14−24 mm, light purple with darker basal spot; filaments of long stamens 6−7 mm long; stigma lobes 1.5−2 mm long; capsule 24−33 × ± 3.3 mm .. Clarkia purpurea subsp. viminea   [pics]

3′ Either flower buds or flower buds and inflorescence axis nodding; stigma lobes not deep purple

5  Inflorescence axis erect; sepals 2.5−3 mm wide; petals appearing reddish purple but white to purplish pink below midpoint, lacking dark basal spot; filaments of long stamens 6−8 mm long; stigma lobes 0.6−1 mm long, light purple .. Clarkia bottae   [pics]

5′ Inflorescence axis nodding; sepals 2−2.5 mm wide; petals appearing light purple with a dark purple basal spot (rarely absent); filaments of long stamens 4−6 mm long; stigma lobes 1.2−1.8 mm long, pale yellow (pale purple) .. Clarkia cylindrica subsp. cylindrica   [pics]




1  Vegetative shoots pilose to villous and also glandular-hairy; flowers red; hypanthium > 13 mm long, covered with radiating glandular hairs, bulbous and nectar-producing at base

2  Subshrubs to shrubs with grayish green or green foliage; blades with glandular hairs mostly near base; hypanthium 14−26(−34) mm long; petals 8−17 × 4−9.5 mm; for each flower some filaments exserted 11+ mm from hypanthium .. Epilobium canum subsp. canum   [pics]

2′ Perennial herbs with green foliage; blades glandular-hairy on both surfaces; hypanthium 15−18 mm long; petals 6.5−8 × 4.5−5 mm; filaments exserted 7−10 mm from hypanthium .. Epilobium canum subsp. latifolium   [pics]

1′ Vegetative shoots glabrous to glabrate, not glandular-hairy; flowers white to pink or rose to light purple; hypanthium to 6 mm long, not glandular-hairy

3  Plants typically with 1 principal, erect shoot; flowers open, flower buds > 10 mm long; capsules 4-sided, 15+ mm long, with valves splitting nearly to base, having seeds in 1 vertical row per chamber; seeds with conspicuous tuft of silky hairs at tip

4  Perennial herbs, rhizomatous and growing in wet situations; petals narrowly lanceolate and shallowly notched, 2−5.3 × 1.5−3 mm; capsules 30−60 mm long .. Epilobium ciliatum subsp. ciliatum   [pics]

4′ Annuals, growing in dry, open sites; petals deeply 2-lobed, (2−)4−10(−15) mm long; capsules 4-sided, 15−35 mm long .. Epilobium brachycarpum   [pics]

3′ Plants typically with several decumbent shoots from base; flowers never open (cleistogamous), flower buds to 8 mm long; capsules cylindric, 3.5−8 mm long, dehiscent only to above midpoint from tip, with 2 vertical rows of seeds per chamber; seeds lacking tuft of silky hairs at end .. Epilobium campestre




1  Flowers ± bilaterally symmetric, having petals shifted to the upper side and stamens oriented to the lower side; fruits in range rarely present, indehiscent, to 4-seeded (sect. Gaura)

2  Sepals 7−9 mm long; petals initially white aging rose-red and drying darker; filaments hairy at base; fruit 8−15 mm long with slender sterile tip several mm long .. Oenothera sinuosa

2′ Sepals 10+ mm long; petals at anthesis deep or pale pink to pink-rose or strong purplish red aging darker; filaments glabrous; fruit lacking sterile tip

3  Plants with woody caudex, when flowering shoots with cauline leaves; petals remaining deep pink to rose; anthers 3−4 mm long; style < 16 mm long with stigma lobes 0.5−1.3 mm long .. Oenothera suffrutescens   [pics]

3′ Plants rhizomatous, when flowering having photosynthetic axes (virgate); petals aging crimson; anthers 4−6 mm long; style 17.5−21 mm long with stigma lobes 1.5−2.5 mm long .. Oenothera xenogaura   [pics]

1′ Flowers strictly radially symmetric; capsules dehiscent by 4 valves, many-seeded

4  Petals yellow or light yellow fading orangish

5  Plants robust, erect, 100−250 cm tall; flowers 70−100 across; sepals 27−48 mm long; stamens with filaments 12−25 mm long and anthers 8−15 mm long; capsules lanceoloid-cylindric and 30−45 × 4−7 mm .. Oenothera elata subsp. hirsutissima   [pics]

5′ Plants mostly decumbent, to 33 cm tall; flowers 25−33 mm across; sepals 12.5−17.5 mm long; stamens with filaments 7−10 mm long and anthers 4.8−5.2 mm long; capsules slightly club-shaped, 24−40 × 3.5−4 mm .. Oenothera laciniata   [pics]

4′ Petals rose to rose-purple or pink; capsules conspicuously club-shaped

6  Flowers showy, 25−40 mm across, having petals 15−25(−30) × 15−27 mm with yellowish tinge and a yellowish green base .. Oenothera speciosa   [pics]

6′ Flowers ca. 10 mm across, having petals 7−8(−10) × 3.5−6.5 mm with thickened green base; capsules strongly club-shaped and strongly 4-sided and 8-ridged .. Oenothera rosea   [pics]


NB.  Authors typically use fruit characteristic to distinguish the gaura species (formerly Gaura), but in range fruits rarely are observed because clones are self-incompatible, so instead floral features are emphasized in the above key.  Oenothera californica (S. Watson) S. Watson is a desert species that was collected last century just outside range growing in sand along the Los Angeles River; it has showy white flowers pollinated by hawkmoths.





1  Plants of chaparral; leaves with conspicuous blades mostly restricted to base and lowermost stem, and bractlets < flowers; blades of leaves and bractlets smooth; flowers < 4 mm across, sessile or subsessile, spurred, greenish .. Piperia

1′ Plants of wet springs and along creeks; leaves with conspicuous blades basal and cauline, including bractlets > flowers; blades of leaves and bractlets pleated from veins; flowers 13−15 mm across, with pedicel 5 mm long increasing in fruit, lacking spur, colored rose to rose-purple with green and white and conspicuous, darker veins .. Epipactis gigantea   [pics]


Piperia Rydb.    REIN ORCHID


1  Spur of perianth (corolla) 8.5−11 mm long; only 1 bractlet subtending each flower; flowers 3−3.5 mm across; lateral sepals 2.7−3 × 1.3−1.5 mm; lateral petals 2.5−3 × 1.4−1.5 mm, labellum 2.5−3 × 1.7−2 mm .. Piperia elongata   [pics]

1′ Spur of perianth (corolla) to 6.5 mm long; 2 bractlets subtending each flower

2  Flowers 4 mm across; lateral sepals 3−3.5 × 1−1.5 mm; lateral petals 3 × 1−1.5 mm, labellum 4 × 3 mm .. Piperia unalascensis   [pics]

2′ Flowers 5−6.5 mm across; lateral sepals 3.6−3.8 × 1.7−1.9 mm; lateral petals 3−3.3 × 1.9−2 mm, labellum ± 3.2 × 3 mm .. Piperia cooperi   [pics]





1  Plants lacking chlorophyll and fully parasitic on roots of host perennials (holoparasites), axes and leaflike structures whitish to yellowish, orangey brown, or dark purple; calyx ± radially 5-lobed; upper lip of corolla distinctly 2-lobed, with stigma and anthers included .. Orobanche

1′ Plants with green foliage, being parasitic on roots of host perennials during one phase of growth (hemiparasites); calyx mostly bilaterally symmetric, often 2-lipped but sometimes sheathlike, if 5-lobed then upper lobes slightly shorter and lateral lobes paired; upper lip of corolla ± entire and often hoodlike and enclosing stamens (galea)

2  Plants with basal rosettes of petiolate, coarsely dissected leaves, blades 50−220(−280) × 12−55 mm with many lobes cut and toothed on margins; leafy racemes condensed with fuchsia to dark rose flowers; galea conspicuously rounded approaching tip and externally glabrous; anthers with equal sacs; style bent to project at right angles from corolla .. Pedicularis densiflora   [pics]

2′ Plants lacking basal rosettes, with sessile, ± narrow or pinnately several-lobed cauline leaves, blades or lobes mostly < 90 × 12 mm with entire margins; galea, if rounded, only at tip, externally pubescent on some parts; anthers with unequal sacs

3  Corolla resembling a bird’s beak, multi-colored but mostly yellowish to white, surrounded by mostly green bractlets and bracts (sometimes tipped purple)

4  Plants 20−40 cm tall, pilose and glandular-hairy; blades lanceolate and never lobed, (5−)7−25 × 1.5−7 mm; leafy spike with bractlets and calyx mostly boat-shaped; growing in Point Mugu salt marsh .. Chloropyron maritimum subsp. maritimum

4′ Plants 20−175 cm tall, short-hairy and sparsely hirsute aging hispid; blades unlobed to pinnately 3-lobed, 10−47 mm long, with slender, linear lobes; headlike cyme with bractlets and calyx sheathlike; growing during summer in dry scrubland .. Cordylanthus rigidus subsp. setigerus   [pics]

3′ Corolla elongate and obviously 2-lipped, amidst of brightly colored calyx, bractlets, and bracts, e.g., vivid red, orange-red, light yellow, or purplish pink (white) .. Castilleja


Castilleja Mutis    INDIAN PAINTBRUSH


1  Blades mostly 1−2-pinnately dissected with slender, linear lobes, pilose to villous without glandular hairs; inflorescence club-shaped overall appearing purplish pink to strong reddish purple and white; lower lip of corolla conspicuously 3-pouched and upper lip hooded and beaklike .. Castilleja exserta subsp. exserta   [pics]

1′ Blades unlobed to 1-pinnately dissected with broad lobes, hairs various but if villous also densely glandular-hairy; inflorescence ± cylindric overall appearing red to red-orange (yellow); lower lip of corolla not inflated and upper lip minutely 3-toothed

2  Annuals, 1-stemmed at base; blades densely glandular-hairy and lower surface scabrous from multicellular hairs; racemes with pedicels initially 2−3 mm long increasing in fruit; bractlet subtending flower unlobed; calyx tube ca. 6 mm long and saclike at base .. Castilleja minor subsp. spiralis   [pics]

2′ Perennial herbs, several−many-stemmed at base; blades not scabrous; spikes with pedicels always < 1 mm long; bractlet subtending flower lobed; calyx tube cylindric and 7−12.5 mm long

3  Blades woolly with branched hairs (dendritic) and lacking glandular hairs; bractlet subtending flower 15−20 mm long and calyx 11.5−16 mm long, both hairy like leaves .. Castilleja foliolosa   [pics]

3′ Blades villous and densely glandular-hairy; bractlet enveloping flower 21−26 mm long and calyx 15−20 mm long, both hairy like leaves .. Castilleja affinis subsp. affinis   [pics]


NB.  Castilleja applegatei Fernald subsp. martinii (Abrams) T. I. Chuang & Heckard, which is similar to C. affinis, may occur in range, but definitive specimens have not yet been observed.


Orobanche L.    BROOMRAPE


1  Plants glandular-hairy; each flower terminal on long pedicel >> corolla, lacking bracteoles at base of calyx; corolla lobes ± equal and spreading

2  Flowers several per shoot; calyx lobes ≤ calyx tube; corolla to 34 mm long, light yellow with rose reddish to purplish or dark yellow veins but possibly purplish .. Orobanche fasciculata   [pics]

2′ Flowers 1 per shoot; calyx lobes > calyx tube; corolla < 23 mm long, mostly violet but lower portion often yellow; parasite mostly on Ribes .. Orobanche uniflora   [pics]

1′ Plants glandular-hairy or not; flowers in dense raceme or racemelike panicle, pedicel << corolla, with 2 bracteoles at base of calyx; corolla lobes somewhat bilateral

3  Plants with only nonglandular hairs, somewhat scabrous; base of plant (subterranean) tuberlike, shoot tapered from enlarged base; shoots and flowers purple; inflorescence branched; parasite mostly on chamise (Adenostoma) .. Orobanche bulbosa   [pics]

3′ Plants densely glandular-hairy, not scabrous; base of plant (subterranean) not tuberlike or greatly enlarged; shoots pale yellow or reddish tinged (reddish) on aerial portion or aging brownish; inflorescence a raceme

4  Corolla pale to light yellowish but becoming reddish orange to purplish red along veins or ± uniformly reddish orange to purplish red on inside except pale yellow on margins; parasite mostly on Asteraceae, (e.g., Corethrogyne) .. Orobanche parishii   [pics]

4′ Corolla whitish to pale rose with reddish rose to purplish veins; parasite mostly on elderberry (Sambucus) .. Orobanche vallicola   [pics]







1  Leaves only basal; bulbs present and deep-seated with small bulblets forming dense clones; flowers produced substantially above leaf canopy, > 20 mm across, brilliant yellow with reddish veins; in range capsules never formed .. Oxalis pes-caprae   [pics]

1′ Cauline leaves present; bulbs absent, with trailing stems and often bearing stolons; flowers produced at level of leaf canopy, yellow without reddish veins but sometimes with 2 red spots per corolla lobe; capsules present

2  Rachis generally > 30−50(−90) mm long; trailing stems often rooting at nodes; flowers 8−13 mm across, borne in umbel-like clusters of 4−9; capsules strongly 5-lobed and typically (6−)10−25 mm long .. Oxalis corniculata   [pics]

2′ Rachis generally 15−39 mm long; trailing stems not rooting at nodes; flowers 13−18 mm across, borne singly or in clusters of 2−3; capsules appearing 10-lobed and typically < 10 mm long .. Oxalis californica   [pics]





Paeonia L.    PEONY


.. Paeonia californica   [pics]





1  Leaves 2−4× compound, finely divided and dissected

2  Perennials 50−235 cm tall, with a thick principal axis bearing a large terminal dense panicle of dichasial cymes; flowers bilateral with erect, creamy white petals; stamens 6 in 2 sets opposite outer petals; capsules narrowly ovoid, 15−27 × 6−8 mm .. Ehrendorferia ochroleuca   [pics]

2′ Annual or perennial herbs 5−60 cm tall, lacking a principal axis, with 1−several-flowered cymes; flowers radial with spreading bright yellow to bright orange or yellow and orange petals; stamens >12; capsules linear-cylindric, 35−90 mm long, often with rim surrounding base of fruit .. Eschscholzia

1′ Leaves at most pinnately lobed

3  Shrubs or shrublike but dying back to ground

4  Blades elliptic to broadly lanceolate, entire, glabrous; flowers 35−70 mm across; petals 4, bright yellow; stamens mostly 50−70; capsules cylindric opening by 2 valves, 25−90 mm long, glabrous .. Dendromecon rigida   [pics]

4′ Blades deeply pinnately lobed with paired lateral lobes, having some bristlelike prickles along petiole; flowers 120−200 mm across; petals 5−6, white and crinkled; stamens > 600; capsules ovoid with 10−12 toothlike valves, 23−45 × 8−22 mm, covered with stiff, golden bristles .. Romneya coulteri   [pics]

3′ Annuals

5  Plants conspicuously spinescent, covered with sharp prickles; flowers 51−100(−130) mm across; sepals 3; petals (5−)6(−7), 53−65 mm long, white with yellow at base; stamens many; capsules dehiscent by 4 valves, sharp-prickly .. Argemone munita   [pics]

5′ Plants not spinescent

6  Diminutive annual to 10 cm tall, slender-stemmed with unlobed, opposite or whorled basal and cauline leaves; flowers 3.5−4.5 mm across; petals white; stamens 3−6 in 1 whorl; capsules 7−20 × 1 mm, dehiscent at tip by 3 valves .. Meconella denticulata   [pics]

6′ Annuals 10−80 cm tall, at least with lower leaves helically alternate

7  Leaves all helically alternate; petals red to dark orange; capsules dehiscent by terminal pores .. Papaver

7′ Cauline leaves opposite or whorled and linear; petals cream-colored; capsules schizocarpic, splitting lengthwise into strips and later breaking between seeds to form 1-seeded segments .. Platystemon californicus   [pics]


Eschscholzia Cham.   CALIFORNIA POPPY


1  Leaves commonly with pinnately arranged primary divisions; at anthesis receptacle rim relatively conspicuous; petals 10−55 mm long; stamens 18−40+, filaments commonly with deep purple or blackish band just above midpoint; some stigmas 3−8.5 mm long; capsule 10-ribbed; seeds 1.4−1.7 mm long .. Eschscholzia californica   [pics]

1′ Leaves with only 3-lobed primary divisions; at anthesis receptacle rim absent; petals 9−16 mm long; stamens 12−26, filaments lacking dark pigment band; stigmas to 3 mm long; capsule typically 5-ribbed; seeds 1.1−1.5 mm long .. Eschscholzia caespitosa   [pics]


Papaver L.    POPPY


1  Shoots with clear yellow latex; pedicels completely glabrous; petals strictly 4, fan-shaped, 10−14 × 6.2−13.8 mm, strong reddish orange with dark red or deep purplish red on thick basal 1/3; stamens (12−)15−20, filaments deep reddish purple; style ca. 1 mm long with capitate stigma .. Papaver heterophyllum   [pics]

1′ Shoots with white latex; pedicels initially with hairs; petals 4 or 6, with white or green at base; style absent with discoid stigmas

2  Sepals initially villous becoming glabrescent; petals obovate to oval, 9−17 × 6−12 mm; stamens ca. 30, filaments greenish; stigmas 6−7 downwardly radiating arms from a conic center; capsule narrowly obovoid, 10−16 × 6−8 mm, dehiscent by 6 or 7 pores .. Papaver californicum   [pics]

2′  Sepals coarsely hirsute; petals obovate to oval or depressed ovate, 30−33 × 47−60 mm; stamens ca. 120, filaments white and sometimes purplish red; stigmas 13−17 as downwardly radiating arms from a conic center; capsule barrel-shaped to spheroid, 15−20 × 7−13 mm, dehiscent by 13+ pores .. Papaver rhoeas   [pics]





Passiflora L.    PASSIONFLOWER


.. Passiflora caerulea   [pics]







1  Shrub to subshrubs, drought-deciduous, aromatic, with opposite branching and short, unexpanded axillary shoots; blades sometimes inrolled (somewhat revolute) when water-stressed; flowers in axillary pairs, (25−)35−55 mm long, typically orange yellow or light orange with white markings but variable to red, pale orange, light yellow, or nearly white .. Mimulus aurantiacus var. aurantiacus   [pics]

1′ Plants herbaceous

2  Rhizomatous perennials 1-stemmed at base, growing in waterfalls and creek beds with permanently wet substrate; leaves never inrolled; flowers 35−45 mm long, scarlet; anthers with inconspicuous bristles .. Mimulus cardinalis   [pics]

2′ Annuals; flowers light to bright yellow; anthers glabrous

3  Shoots pubescent strictly with stalked glandular hairs to 0.8 mm long; at anthesis pedicels 3−4.5 mm long; calyx strongly pleated and 15−17.5 mm long; corolla lips 14−32 mm wide; filaments 10−11 mm long (lower pair) and 13−16 mm long (upper pair) .. Mimulus brevipes   [pics]

3′ Shoots glabrous, puberulent, or densely hairy with long glandular hairs > 0.8 mm long; at anthesis pedicels 5−10 mm long; corolla lips typically < 14 mm long (to 18 mm long in M. guttatus); filaments not as described

4  Vegetative plants puberulent with short, narrowly conic nonglandular hairs and some scattered stalked glandular hairs; flowers 4−17.5 mm long; calyx strongly pleated, 3.5−12.5 mm long; filaments 3−11 mm long (lower pair) and 4−13.5 mm long (upper pair) .. Mimulus guttatus   [pics]

4′ Plants densely hairy with long, stalked glandular hairs; flowers 7−8 mm long; calyx angled to weakly pleated, 5−7 mm long

5  Leaves sessile; blades 16−37 × 4−7 mm, with long wavy hairs; corolla 2-lipped; filaments 1.4−1.8 mm long (lower pair) and 2.8−3.2 mm long (upper pair) .. Mimulus pilosus   [pics]

5′ Leaves petiolate, petioles 1.5−25 mm long; blades 10−42 × 7−36 mm, with long straight hairs; corolla lacking well-defined lips; filaments 2−3 mm long (lower stamens) and 2.5−3 mm long (upper stamens) .. Mimulus floribundus   [pics]





Pittosporum Soland.


.. Pittosporum undulatum   [pics]





1  Calyx 4-lobed or having 4 sepals

2  Rosette plant and scapose, with nonshowy flowers in a dense spike; corolla scarious; stamens 4 or 2 (Plantago elongata); capsules dehiscent around fruit near midpoint (circumscissile) .. Plantago

2′ Plant lacking basal rosette and not scapose; flowers solitary in axils or in panicles of racemes; corolla blue, violet, to white; stamens 2; capsules loculicidal, flattened and heart-shaped .. Veronica

1′ Calyx 4-lobed; corolla often bilaterally symmetric

3  Flower with well-developed spur on corolla

4  Plant with horizontal shoots having nodding axillary flowers; leaves petiolate, blade ovate or triangular-ovate to arrow-shaped, 10−40 × 8−30 mm, conspicuously pilose (hairs 2−3 mm long) and glandular-hairy; corolla mostly light yellow but with dark purple on upper lip; spur curving forward, reflexed or sometimes straight, ca. 7 mm long; capsules dehiscent by a large pore at top with a circular, detachable lid .. Kickxia elatine   [pics]

4′ Plant with ascending to erect shoots have a terminal raceme; leaves ± linear to narrowly lanceolate or narrowly oblanceolate, < 9 mm wide, glabrous but changed to short glandular-hairy in inflorescence; capsules with each chamber dehiscent from the top by a slit

5  Blades 2.5−25 × 1−2.2 mm; flowers 6−7 mm across; corolla white at base changing to light violet on throat and lips blue-violet; spur curved forward, 4.5−6 mm long .. Nuttallanthus texanus   [pics]

5′ Blades 26−65 × 1.8−8.5 mm; flowers 12−13 mm across; corolla multi-colored, red-violet to magenta, deep purplish red, red and with or without yellow-orange, yellow, or white; spur arched upward, 7.5−8 mm long .. Linaria maroccana   [pics]

3′ Flower not spurred, but sometimes corolla saclike or expanded at base on upper or lower side

6  Corolla with saclike base on upper side; fertile stamens 4, staminode 1

7  Annual; flowers in leafy raceme; calyx with well-developed tube; corolla with swollen portion at base on upper side, tubular portion < 4 mm long, middle lobe of lower lip concealed by the lateral lobes and forming a keel in which stamens are included; filaments to 12 mm long .. Collinsia

7′ Perennial; flowers in panicle with paired cymes; calyx with segments only fused at base; corolla with a conspicuous tube >16 mm long; filaments 13−20 mm long

8  Shrub with arching and 2-dimensional (plagiotropic) lateral branches; filaments pubescent at base .. Keckiella cordifolia   [pics]

8′ Perennial herb with ascending to erect shoots and cauline leaves clearly opposite decussate; filaments glabrous .. Penstemon

6′ Corolla with saclike base, if present, on lower side; fertile stamens 4, staminode absent

9  Plant decumbent with long, twining petioles, glabrous or sometimes sparsely glandular-hairy in inflorescence; corolla deep blue-purple with many darker parallel veins, lacking a saclike extension on lower side; capsules dehiscing by 2 slits at tip and separating from vertical septum .. Neogaerrhinum strictum   [pics]

9′ Plant with ascending to erect principal shoots, at least inflorescence conspicuously glandular-pubescent and sometimes viscid; corolla dark rose-lavender, lavender-purple, strong violet, or deep purple, mostly with a saclike extension on lower side; capsules dehiscing by 3 pores, 2 in the lower chamber and 1 in the smaller upper chamber .. Sairocarpus


Collinsia Nutt.    CHINESE HOUSES


1  Leaves sessile; flowers congested into whorls, flowers 8−14 mm across, on pedicels 4−15 mm long; calyx 5.2−8 mm long at anthesis; corolla 13−20 mm long .. Collinsia heterophylla var. heterophylla   [pics]

1′ Leaves petiolate; flowers not congested into whorls, flowers 4−4.5 mm across, on pedicels 1.8−3.5 mm long; calyx 3.5−5 mm long; corolla (4−)7−9.5 mm long .. Collinsia parryi   [pics]


Penstemon Mitch.    BEARDTONGUE


1  Cauline leaves linear to narrowly oblanceolate, appearing tufted (fasciculate), < 6 mm wide; flowers generally produced in raceme, with corolla yellow in bud .. Penstemon heterophyllus var. australis   [pics]

1′ Cauline leaves lanceolate to ovate, < 15 mm wide; flowers produced in panicle having paired and open axillary cymes

2  Blades entire and glaucous; upper leaves clasping; inflorescence with glandular hairs on pedicels; corolla  tube ±cylindric, corolla scarlet, lobes < 3 mm long .. Penstemon centranthifolius   [pics]

2′ Blades coarsely serrate and not glaucous; upper leaves fused around stem (connate perfoliate); inflorescence glabrous; floral tube expanded, corolla blue-violet, lobes > 4 mm long .. Penstemon spectabilis var. subviscosus   [pics]


Plantago L.    PLANTAIN


1  Fertile portion of spike covering one-quarter to one-half of peduncle .. Plantago major subsp. intermedia   [pics]

1′  Fertile portion of spike shorter covering much less than one-quarter of the peduncle

2  Annuals with linear blades

3  Plants typically < 8 cm tall; spike 3.5−5 × 2−2.5 mm; flowers 0.7 mm across; calyx lobes ± 1.6 mm long; stamens 2, filaments 0.25 mm long; capsules 5−12-seeded, ± 13 mm long .. Plantago elongata   [pics]

3′ Plants (4−)8−20 cm tall; spike > 5 mm long; flowers 4−6 mm across; stamens 4; capsule 2-seeded, 2−3 mm long

4  Spikes 5−15 × 5−8.5 mm; corolla lobes cupped-obovate, 2.5−3.3 mm long; filaments 1.5−2.5 mm long; seeds dull brown to dark brown .. Plantago erecta   [pics]

4′ Spikes 15−30 × 7−8 mm; corolla lobes cupped-ovate, 3.2−4 mm long; filaments 3−3.5 mm long; seeds orangey brown and sometimes shiny or frosted .. Plantago ovata

2′  Perennials with elliptic to oblanceolate blades > 20 mm wide; spike with >100 flowers; lower peduncle distinctly ribbed .. Plantago lanceolata   [pics]


Sairocarpus D. A. Sutton   NEW WORLD SNAPDRAGON


1  Perennial herbs from woody caudex, lacking twining branches and axes; blades lanceolate to elliptic, 8−40 × 2.5−8 mm, densely glandular-pilose and viscid; uppermost calyx lobes 7−13 mm long; corolla dark rose-lavender or lavender-purple .. Sairocarpus multiflorus   [pics]

1′ Annuals with twining, slender branchlets; blades not viscid; uppermost calyx lobes 2.7−5.5 mm long

2  Leaves mostly glabrous but inflorescence glandular-pubescent; blades of cauline leaves linear, to 110 mm long; corolla 8−15.5 mm across white (pinkish) .. Sairocarpus coulterianus   [pics]

2′ Leaves and inflorescence ± glandular-pilose; blades of cauline leaves deltate-ovate, 6.5−24 × 4.5−19 mm; corolla < 8 mm across, strong violet to deep purple .. Sairocarpus nuttallianus   [pics]




1  Leaves, bracts, and bractlets mostly opposite decussate; blades 25−55 mm long; inflorescence a panicle of paired axillary racemes; corolla conspicuously pilose on upper surface .. Veronica anagallis-aquatica   [pics]

1′ Leaves of vegetative plant opposite decussate but bracts and bractlets alternate; blades 3−25 mm long; inflorescence a terminal leafy raceme, never paired; corolla not pilose but sometimes with short hairs hiding corolla tube or papillate-hairy

2  Creeping, rhizomatous perennial rooting at nodes; corolla lobes white at base changing to pale blue-violet at tips; capsules with notch 0.2−0.4 mm .. Veronica serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia   [pics]

2′ Annuals; corolla lobes not colored as above

3  Racemes hairy but not glandular-hairy; flowers 7−8(−12) mm across; corolla strong violet-blue and white with conspicuous nectar lines; filaments 2.7−3 mm long; capsule valves veiny, with notch 0.7−1.2 mm deep .. Veronica persica   [pics]

3′ Racemes glandular-hairy; flowers ca. 2.5 mm across; corolla pale pinkish white without nectar lines; filaments < 0.5 mm long; capsule valves not veiny, with notch < 0.5 mm deep .. Veronica peregrina subsp. xalapensis   [pics]







.. Platanus racemosa   [pics]







1  Blade wavy to pinnately lobed, hirsute-hispid; inflorescence axis distinctly 3–4-winged with whorled linear extensions, wing 1–3 mm wide; calyx forming flaring limb after anthesis .. Limonium sinuatum   [pics]

1′ Blade simple and entire, ± glabrous; inflorescence axis cylindric or several-angled, not winged; calyx forming flaring limb before anthesis

2  Petiole << blade, blade obovate to elliptic or oblong; inflorescence funnel-shaped; calyx 4.5−5.5 mm long, limb white .. Limonium californicum   [pics]

2′ Petiole >> blade, blade broadly ovate to round; inflorescence curved-topped; calyx 9−10 mm long, limb blue-purple .. Limonium perezii   [pics]





1  Clonal perennials 3.5−8+ m tall, having “woody,” bamboolike stems arising from shallow rhizomes, major stems and rhizomes 15−35 mm diameter; blades 250−860 × 15−77 mm (including long-tapered tip); typically lacking inflorescences (380−550 × 80−150 mm); spikelets with 2 ± equal glumes + lemmas with awns .. Arundo donax   [pics]

1′ Plants < 2.5 m tall (to 4.1 m tall in Cortaderia selloana), lacking thick, bamboolike stems, major stems and rhizomes < 12 mm diameter

2  Perennial turfgrasses, matlike with strongly procumbent shoots and creeping rhizomes and stolons, often forming adventitious roots at nodes

3  Inflorescences typically absent (rare), mostly concealed at shoot tips by sheath of flag leaf but with long-exserted filaments 40−55+ mm long; leaf sheaths closed .. Pennisetum clandestinum   [pics]

3′ Inflorescences produced each growing season, clearly elevated above foliage; filaments < 2 mm long

4 Blades 10−50(−70) × 1−2.5 mm; ligule membranous and minutely ciliate; inflorescence an open, ovate panicle, typically with 1 branch per node with each having a greenish yellow pulvinus at the base; leaf sheaths open .. Muhlenbergia asperifolia   [pics]

4′ Blades 25−130 × 2−4.5 mm; inflorescence umbel-like with terminal, ascending to spreading branches or racemelike with spreading branches, with spikelets in 2 rows, lacking pulvinus

5  Ligule of erect hairs 0.2−0.5 mm long; panicle branches 4−5(−7), slender (0.5−1.1 mm diameter); glumes always 2 and typically < 2 mm long .. Cynodon dactylon   [pics]

5′ Ligule membranous, 0.5−1.5 mm long; panicle branches (1−)2(−3), > 3 mm diameter, if not umbel-like but instead racemelike, then branches to 11 and leaves much larger (P. dilatatum); glumes 1 or 2, dominant glume 2.5−3.7 mm long .. Paspalum (part)

2′ Annuals or perennials of various forms

6  Inflorescence a conspicuously jointed “spike,” with appressed spikelets permanently fused to rachis and at maturity rachis breaking into 1-spikelet segments

7  Halophytic annuals (salt marsh); blades 12−65 × 1−1.5(−3) mm; spikelets lacking awns, glumes 3.8−7.3 mm long; inflorescence often curved .. Parapholis incurva

7′ Annuals of open habitat; blades 30−185 × 2−3 mm; fertile spikelets with long awns, glumes 8−9 mm long; inflorescence straight .. Aegilops cylindrica   [pics]

6′ Inflorescence not jointed, not breaking at each node into 1-spikelet segments

8  Halophytes inhabiting salt marsh

9  Plants erect, with shoots widely spaced and individually arising from intertidal mud; blades suberect and inrolled above midpoint, 135−270 × 8−15 mm; ligules densely ciliate, 1−2 mm long; florets bisexual .. Spartina foliosa   [pics]

9′ Plants mostly spreading and often matlike; blades short−100 mm long; ligules < 0.5 mm long and membranous; dioecious, most clones unisexual (rarely florets bisexual) .. Distichlis

8′ Plants terrestrial (including coastal sand dunes) or occurring in freshwater habitats

10  Spikelets subtended by 1−many conspicuous bristles (modified branchlets)

11  Bristles falling with each spikelet at maturity, feathery at least below midpoint (plumose) .. Pennisetum

11′ Bristles persistent on rachis, scabrous with short, upward-pointing (antrorse) or downward-pointing (retrorse) barbs .. Setaria

10′ Spikelets not subtended by 1 or more bristles (modified branchlets)

12  Leaf sheath closed for at least 1 mm above node on all leaves or at least for most leaves on each shoot

13 Awns present on spikelets

14 Awns present on glumes and lemmas

15 Inflorescence with 1 type of spikelet

16 Inflorescence unbranched, having a tight set of 3 ± sessile spikelets at each node so inflorescence often appears to have 6 vertical rows of awned spikelets, at least some awns > 5 mm long .. Hordeum

16′ Inflorescence branched, having 1 branch at each node along the main axis, having 1-sided clusters of spikelets and strongly keeled, asymmetric glumes, the awns short .. Dactylis glomerata   [pics]

15′ Inflorescence with 2 types of spikelets, a sterile spikelet and a fertile spikelet, with all spikelets oriented to 1 side; some glumes and lemmas lacking awns .. Cynosurus echinatus   [pics]

14′ Awns absent on glumes but present on lemmas

17  Spikelets oriented to 1 side and drooping, having a cluster of several spikelets at the tip of a branch (fasciculate), with the terminal spikelet fertile and awned and others sterile and lacking awns, breaking at the base of the cluster .. Lamarckia aurea   [pics]

17′ Spikelets not in clusters of fertile a terminal spikelet and sterile lateral spikelets

18  Spikelet with only 1 floret, breaking below glumes; lemma awn with prominent bend .. Alopecurus saccatus

18′ Spikelet with 2 or more fertile florets, breaking above the glumes and between florets; lemma awns ± straight

19  Spikelets mostly with 2−5 fertile florets; glumes 5.5−6.2 mm wide; lemmas 2-toothed with awn between teeth 0.2−2.5 mm long .. Festuca arundinacea   [pics]

19′ Spikelets mostly with 5−9 fertile florets; glumes 6.5−12 mm long; lemmas not toothed and with awn arising at or just before tip, awn > 2.5 mm long .. Bromus

13′Awns absent on spikelets

20  Spikelets modified into bulblike structures (corms), and each shoot having a bulbous base .. Poa bulbosa subsp. vivipara

20′ Spikelets not modified into bulblike structures (corm), and shoot lacking a bulbous base

21  Spikelet not compressed; lemma and upper glume ± same length; rudimentary floret = a sausage-shaped, inrolled lemma .. Melica

21′ Spikelet compressed side-to-side; lemma > upper glume; rudimentary terminal floret not sausage-shaped .. Poa

12′ Leaf sheath open but sometimes sheath of flag leaf closed

22 Glumes awned or with awnlike points

23  Lemma appearing 3-awned

24  Panicles having short lateral branchlets forming stalked spikelets; blades to 2 mm wide; lower glume short-awned .. Aristida

24′ Spikelike panicle having 2 suberect sessile spikelets per node; blades 2.5−5 mm wide; glume with long arms, lemmas of fertile and sterile florets 1−3-awned and divided .. Elymus multisetus

23′ Lemmas appearing only 1-awned or with awnlike tip (sometimes lemmas awnless in Triticum aestivum)

25  Leaves with lobes (auricles) at top of sheath; at least some awns on each inflorescence 5+ mm long

26 Inflorescence with only 1 spikelet per node, lax or nodding in fruit; glumes asymmetric; spikelets with fruits remaining attached to inflorescence .. Triticum aestivum   [pics]

26′ Inflorescence with at least 2 or more spikelets at some nodes, not lax or nodding in fruit; glumes awns or ± symmetric; spikelets breaking above glumes and between florets .. Elymus

25′ Leaves without lobes (auricles) at top of sheath; awns of glumes and lemmas always < 3 mm long

27 Inflorescence branches umbel-like (digitate), 1-sided with 2 overlapping rows of spikelets on lower side and rachis ending in sharp point; spikelets breaking above glumes .. Dactyloctenium aegyptium   [pics]

27′ Panicle cylindric-lanceoloid to lanceoloid or narrowly ellipsoid, with short lateral branches and radial (not 1-sided); spikelets breaking below glumes .. Polypogon (part)

22′ Glumes without awns or awnlike points

28  Robust, clump-forming perennials mostly > 120 cm tall (mature plants with inflorescences); large blades typically 350−1000+ × 12−33 mm

29 Glumes broad, strongly keeled and flattened + narrowly winged approaching tip; panicles cylindric to narrowly ellipsoid and flexible .. Phalaris aquatica   [pics]

29′ Glumes narrow and neither keeled nor flattened

30  Blades with razor-sharp cutting margins; dioecious, unisexual panicles plumelike and at anthesis partially covered by sheath of flag leaf, fully expanded 500−900 × 200−450 mm; lemmas 7.8−17 mm long including awn to 3 mm long .. Cortaderia selloana   [pics]

30′ Blades without cutting margins; panicles of bisexual florets on highly condensed branches, branchlets, and densely clustered spikelets, at anthesis fully exposed from sheath of flag leaf, 150−400+ mm long, stiff, and relatively narrow; lemmas 7−11 mm long without awn or with awn poorly defined .. Elymus condensatus   [pics]

28′ Plants low−150 cm tall; blades mostly < 400 mm long (to 600 mm long in escaped crop plants of Sorghum and Avena, and in Leptochloa)

31  Lemma awns present on some or all florets (0.2 mm long in Koeleria macrantha)

32 In fruit, lemma awns with at least 1 prominent bend (somewhat subtle in Bothriochloa barbinodis)

33  Fertile spikelet with only 1 floret; lemma often having a crown at top with an ascending ring of hairs and an awn 10+ mm long .. Stipa

33′ Fertile spikelet with 2 or more florets

34  Plant with only 1 type of spikelet; glumes > lemma of the lowest floret; awn arising on back of lemma at or below midpoint; stem internodes hollow .. Avena

34′ Plant with 2 types of spikelets in sets, a stalked, sterile or staminate spikelet and a sessile fertile spikelet having a sterile lower floret and a bisexual upper floret; glumes < lemmas; awn arising from tip of lemma; stem internodes solid and core white

35  Stem nodes with a conspicuous, dense ring of ascending soft hairs 1.5−5 mm long; inflorescence densely pilose; inflorescence at maturity breaking into segments of a branchlet axis, a stalked sterile spikelet and a sessile, fruit-bearing spikelet, the segment with long hairs to 8 mm long .. Bothriochloa barbinodis   [pics]

35′ Stem nodes glabrous to puberulent or short-strigose; inflorescence short-villous or with hairs to 1 mm long; either breaking into segments of branchlet axis, a stalked spikelet, and a sessile, fruit-bearing spikelet or not, but hairs typically < 1 mm long .. Sorghum

32′ Lemma awns never with a prominent bend, typically straight, slightly curved, or flexuous

36 Inflorescence branches 1-sided with spikelets formed in 2 overlapping rows; spikelets sessile or nearly so

37  Spikelets with 5−9(−10) florets; lemma awn to 1.5 mm long, lemma maturing smoky white .. Leptochloa

37′ Spikelets with 2 florets

38 Inflorescence umbel-like with 5−15 ascending branches; spikelets produced on lower side, each with the lower floret bisexual and the upper floret sterile; awns 5−7 mm long; ligule truncate and short-fringed, < 1 mm long .. Chloris virgata   [pics]

38′ Inflorescence racemelike with 5−15 spreading branches; spikelets produced in clusters of 3−5 on the outer faces of branches, each with the lower floret sterile and the upper floret bisexual; awns 0−40 mm long; ligules absent .. Echinochloa crus-galli   [pics]

36′ Inflorescence branches with alternate distichous spikelets, not 1-sided

39  Spikelet with only 1 floret

40  Plant forming 2 types of spikelets, highly modified cleistogamous panicles on the lower plant and open panicles on the upper plant; lemma awns of open panicles 10−22 mm long, usually purplish, and appearing feathery, of cleistogamous panicles ca. 1.5 mm long .. Muhlenbergia

40′ Plant with 1 type of spikelet

41  Inflorescence compact and fusiform to cylindric, (20−)35−120 × 3−13 mm; subterminal lemma awns 3−5 mm long .. Gastridium phleoides   [pics]

41′ Inflorescence open, lax, and wispy, 170−350+ mm long with divergent lateral branches; terminal lemma awns 2.9−4 mm long .. Stipa miliacea var. miliacea   [pics]

39′ Spikelet with > 1 floret (sometimes a spikelet forms only 1 floret)

42  Plant forming 2 types of spikelets in sets, the stalked spikelet sterile with a vestigial glume (absent) and the sessile spikelet with the lower floret sterile and the upper floret bisexual .. Andropogon glomeratus var. scabriglumis

42′ Plant forming only 1 type of spikelet

43 Inflorescence mostly unbranched, but spikelets sometimes held ⊥ to main axis via pulvini (Festuca microstachys); spikelets generally with more than 2 bisexual florets (1−18); glumes symmetric; lemma awns 0.2−15+ mm long

44 Glumes equal; palea with stiff hairs along keels conspicuous along sides of spikelet; stem nodes conspicuously pubescent .. Brachypodium distachyon   [pics]

44′ Glumes unequal or only upper glume present (Lolium); palea glabrous to puberulent or keel minutely scabrous; stems glabrous .. Festuca

43′ Inflorescence branches during flowering held ⊥ main axis via green axillary pulvini; spikelets with 2 bisexual florets; upper glume slightly asymmetric; lemma awns 0.2 mm long; anthers pendent; pistil on short stalk .. Koeleria macrantha   [pics]

31′ Awns never present on spikelets

45 Inflorescence branches 1-sided with spikelets formed in 2 overlapping rows.

46  Spikelets on lower side and compressed side-to-side; spikelets breaking above glumes; glumes 2

47  Spikelet with only 1 floret; matlike perennials (turfgrass) spreading via shallow rhizomes and stolons; ligule of erect hairs 0.2−0.5 mm long .. Cynodon dactylon   [pics]

47′ Spikelet with 3−10 florets

48 Annual, ± emergent aquatic; 55−110 cm tall; inflorescence with 35−55 ascending to spreading branches; ligule membranous and acute, 2−5.5 mm long, often split and sometimes long-ciliate .. Leptochloa

48′ Annual (perennial), weed of cultivated fields; inflorescence umbel-like with 2−7(1−12) ascending to erect branches but often 1 branch arising long on the axis; spikelet with 3−7 florets; ligule membranous and truncate, 1−2 mm long, jagged and short-ciliate .. Eleusine indica   [pics]

46′ Spikelets compressed top-to-bottom; spikelets breaking below glumes, having 2 florets with the lower floret sterile and the upper one bisexual; glumes 1 or 2

49 Annuals; inflorescence mostly umbel-like with spreading terminal branches to 1 mm diameter .. Digitaria

49′ Perennials with rhizomes and often stolons; inflorescence umbel-like to racemelike with spreading branches ca. 3 mm diameter .. Paspalum (part)

45′ Inflorescence lacking 1-sided branches, spikelets alternate distichous on 2 sides of the rachis

50 Inflorescence at anthesis entirely or almost entirely enclosed in inflated sheath of flag leaf .. Crypsis

50′ Inflorescence at anthesis generally not covered or enclosed by sheath of flag leaf

51  Spikelets with 2 or more fertile florets

52 Glumes < the lowest lemma

53 Inflorescence open with wiry axes; lemmas as broad as long, inrolled on membranous margins, closely overlapping and horizontally spreading; spikelets nodding and deltate in outline .. Briza minor   [pics]

53′ Inflorescence without wiry axes, spikelets not nodding, and lemmas not horizontally spreading

54  Lemmas with 3 prominent veins; plants often having an axillary pulvinus at branches and branchlets in the inflorescence and glandular tissue or glands (shiny and yellowish) on axes .. Eragrostis

54′ Veins of lemmas not prominent, and plants lacking pulvini in the inflorescence and glandular tissue on axes

55  Spikelets with (6−)8(−12) florets; lemmas lanceolate, 9.2−10(−12) × 1.4−2 mm .. Elymus (part)

55′ Spikelets with (2−4)5−7 florets; lemmas linear to lanceolate or oblanceolate, 1.8−2.3 × 0.6−0.9 mm, notched at the tip .. Puccinellia distans   [pics]

52′ Glumes ≥ the lowest lemma; glumes 4−6.3 mm long; spikelet narrowly lanceoloid compressed slightly side-to-side, 5−6.8 mm long, generally 1 per node .. Schismus

51′ Spikelet with only 1 fertile floret

56  Perennial bunchgrass of coastal sand dune cloning from deep, long rhizomes; ligule acuminate-triangular, 11−31 mm long (shorter on flag leaf); blades appearing cylindric (tightly inrolled) and tough, 120−500+ mm long; lemmas lanceolate, 12−15 mm long, with midvein extended at tip .. Ammophila arenaria subsp. arenaria   [pics]

56′ Plants not inhabiting coastal sand dune; ligule < 5 mm long; blades generally not cylindric or tightly inrolled unless severely water-stressed

57 Glumes broad, strongly keeled and flattened + narrowly winged approaching tip; panicles cylindric to narrowly ellipsoid and flexible .. Phalaris

57′ Glumes mostly lanceolate, not strongly keeled flattened, or winged

58  Perennial bunchgrass along creek margins in canyon bottoms; blades long-acuminate linear and flat, 90−930 × 2−5 mm, becoming inrolled when water-stressed; panicle condensed and cylindric, 210−440 × 9−11 mm, with appressed lateral branches .. Muhlenbergia rigens   [pics]

58′ Panicles ± open having spreading lateral branches

59 Annuals; panicles ovoid, 130−270 × 70−300 mm; spikelet with a sterile lower floret and bisexual upper floret, breaking below the glumes, with achene firmly enclosed in hard lemma and palea .. Panicum capillare

59′ Perennials; spikelets breaking above the glumes, and achene not enclosed in hard lemma and palea

60  Panicle with lateral branches of many different lengths especially spreading and reflexed; spikelet with 3 florets, 2 sterile and the upper floret bisexual, resembling a lobster claw with transverse ridges on the longest (middle) lemma, other lemmas having minute basal lobes; leaves with lobes (auricles) at top of sheath .. Ehrharta erecta   [pics]

60′ Panicle ± lanceoloid with mostly ascending lateral branches; spikelet with 1 floret; spikelet not shaped like lobster claw; lemma without lobes (auricles) at top of sheath

61 Glumes 1.2−1.6 mm long; spikelet breaking below glumes at base of stalk .. Polypogon (part)

61′ Glumes 2−3.4 mm long; spikelet breaking above glumes .. Agrostis


Agrostis L.    BENT GRASS


1  Palea > 1.0 mm long and > 1/2 lemma, the lemma minutely 3-toothed .. Agrostis gigantea   [pics]

1′ Palea absent or present but only to 0.3 mm long and < 1/5 lemma, the lemma minutely 5-toothed

2  Panicle mostly compact, the longest lower branches to 23 mm long; anthers 0.3−0.6 mm long; plants sometimes producing stolons with leaves densely tufted at base of each plantlet .. Agrostis exarata

2′ Panicle mostly open with ascending branches, the longest lower branches mostly > 25 mm long; anthers 0.7−1.8 mm long; plants strictly rhizomatous and not producing stolons .. Agrostis pallens


Aristida L.    THREE-AWN


1  Perennials; blades of basal leaves highly reduced, < 4.5 mm long; ligule of hairs 0.3−0.5 mm long; branches of panicle lacking pulvinus at base; lemma awns subequal, central awns 19−31.5 mm long, lateral awns 16−28 mm long .. Aristida adscensionis   [pics]

1′ Annuals; blades of basal leaves at least 20 mm long; ligule of hairs 0.4−1 mm long; major branches of panicle having pulvinus at base; lemma with central awn longer, central awns (7−)8−12(−15) mm long, lateral awns 7.4−10.6 mm long .. Aristida purpurea var. parishii


Avena L.    OATS


1  Blades rough along veins, some blades on plant 20−31 mm wide; spikelet not breaking above glumes and permanently retaining florets, callus glabrous; swelling beneath glumes 1.5−2 mm wide .. Avena sativa   [pics]

1′ Blades not rough along veins, always < 16 mm wide; spikelet breaking above glumes and florets falling separately, callus hairy

2  Swelling beneath glumes 0.4−0.8 mm wide; lemma forks 2−6 mm long .. Avena barbata   [pics]

2′ Swelling beneath glumes 1.1−1.4 mm wide; lemma forks 0.7−1.7 mm long .. Avena fatua   [pics]


Bromus L.    BROME, CHESS


1  Lemmas strongly keeled, spikelets strongly flattened

2  Lemma lacking awn or awn only to 3.5 mm long .. Bromus catharticus var. catharticus   [pics]

2′ Awn attached to tip of lemma 4+ mm long

3  Leaf sheath closed to about midpoint, distinctly pilose; upper glume shorter than the lowest lemma .. Bromus carinatus var. carinatus   [pics]

3′ Leaf sheath closed most of length, glabrous to pilose-pubescent; upper glume about as long as the lowest lemma .. Bromus arizonicus

1′ Lemmas rounded over midvein and not strongly keeled, spikelets ± cylindric or only slightly compressed

4  Perennials; leaves with blades often 10+ mm wide, short, ± bronze ligules, and well-developed lobes (auricles); awn arising close to lemma tip; stamens 3, exserted, with anthers 4−5 mm long .. Bromus pseudolaevipes   [pics]

4′ Annuals; leaves with blades < 10 mm wide and ligules not bronze, lacking auricles; awn arising 1+ mm from lemma tip; stamens 2−3, included and rarely exposed, with anthers mostly < 1 mm long (maximum 2.2 mm long in B. berteroanus, which sometimes also has short auricles)

5  Awns of lemma distinctly bent (geniculate) and strongly twisted below bend, lemma tips 2−5 mm long and sometimes awnlike .. Bromus berteroanus

5′ Awns of lemma straight to curved, never distinctly bent, lemma tips never awnlike

6  Lemma tip entire to short 2-toothed

7  Upper glume 8.5−10 mm long; lemmas 9.5−11.2 mm long, awns 10.5−16 mm long .. Bromus arenarius

7′ Upper glume 7−8 mm long; lemmas 7.5−9.3 mm long, awns 4.5−7.2 mm long .. Bromus hordeaceus   [pics]

6′ Lemma tip deeply 2-toothed, the tips mostly > 1.5 mm long

8  Panicle dense, erect, with spikelets having straight, stiff stalks

9  Stems (culms) glabrous or essentially so; upper glume 13−15 mm long; lemma 17−21 mm long with awn 20−25 mm long .. Bromus madritensis subsp. madritensis   [pics]

9′ Stems (culms) pubescent with backward-pointing hairs; upper glumes 7.5−12.5 mm long; lemmas 8.5−16 mm long with awn (8−)15−20 mm long .. Bromus madritensis subsp. rubens   [pics]

8′ Panicle open, the branches spreading or drooping

10  Lower glume 12−25 mm long; lemma 18−35 mm long with awn 30−62 mm long .. Bromus diandrus   [pics]

10′ Lower glume 5−11 mm long

11  Spikelets 1−14 on inflorescence branchlet; upper glume 7−9.5 mm long; lemma 12−14 mm long with awn 10−17 mm long .. Bromus tectorum   [pics]

11′ Spikelets 1(3) on inflorescence branchlet; upper glume 14−17 mm long; lemma 20−22 mm long with awn 22−29 mm long .. Bromus sterilis


NB.  Bromus maritimus (Piper) Hitchc. was collected by Peter Raven near the intersection of Mulholland Drive and Beverly Glen Boulevard, a partially residential area, and the area is now maintained so that the species has not been rediscovered there, although it may be expected more likely at sites along Pacific Coast Highway.


Crypsis Aiton    PRICKLE GRASS


1  Shoots highly branched commonly with > 10 leaves and inflorescences; leaf sheath pilose on margins; blades 10−50 × 1–3 mm, commonly abscising from sheath (appearing bladeless) .. Crypsis vaginiflora

1′ Shoots not typically branched above base with 5−10 cauline leaves; leaf sheath glabrous on margins; blades 20−100 × 2–6 mm, not abscising from sheath .. Crypsis schoenoides   [pics]


Digitaria Haller    CRAB GRASS


1  Spikelets generally 3 per node along inflorescence branch; upper glume about equal to spikelet and lower glume absent or reduced to a membranous scale or rim; achene 1.4−1.5 mm long .. Digitaria ischaemum   [pics]

1′ Spikelets generally 2 per node along inflorescence branch; upper glume up to midpoint of spikelet and lower glume 0.2−0.8 mm long; achene 2−2.2 mm long .. Digitaria ciliaris var. ciliaris   [pics]


NB.  Herbarium records indicate that Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop. has been collected near the borders of the range and is known as a weed in suburban West Hills, so probably this species will eventually be included if found established away from urbanized situations.  This species should have a keeled leaf sheath, and both surfaces of blades should have abundant long hairs with swollen bases. Digitaria sanguinalis generally has two spikelets per node, and the hairs on the glumes and lemmas are short or absent, not conspicuous and pilose, as seen in D. ciliaris.


Distichlis Raf.


1  Mat-forming, procumbent to decumbent plants of salt marsh; blades < 10 mm long and strongly keeled, later having opposite to subopposite lateral shoots; inflorescences difficult to find, terminal on several-leaved branchlets and spikelets with 3−5 florets .. Distichlis littoralis   [pics]

1′ Spreading to ascending plants of haline, brackish, or freshwater margins; blades 15−100 mm long and strongly inrolled, never exhibiting paired lateral shoots; inflorescences relatively easy to observe, elevated on peduncles and spikelets with (4−)7−12(−20) florets .. Distichlis spicata   [pics]


Elymus L.   WILD-RYE


1  Inflorescence with only 1 spikelet per node

2  Spikelets awned, glume awns (0)1−5(−9) mm long and lemma awns (5−)10−25(−35) mm long; florets (1−)2−4(−6) per spikelet .. Elymus glaucus subsp. glaucus   [pics]

2′ Spikelets lacking awns; florets 6−12 per spikelet .. Elymus ponticus   [pics]

1′ Inflorescence in which 2 or more spikelets occur at many or all nodes

3  Spikelets with long awns or awnlike tips on glumes and lemmas

4  Annuals; spikelets 2−3(−4) per node; glume “awns” not branched, but pairs of glumes fused on outer side of spikelet .. Elymus caput-medusae   [pics]

4′ Perennials but not rhizomatous; spikelets strictly 2 per node; glumes separate and each glume awn split into unequal divisions .. Elymus multisetus

3′ Spikelets lacking glume awns and having lemma awns only to 4 mm long, awn not exceeding half the length of the lemma

5  Robust, dense clump (bunchgrass) often several meters across, to 250 cm tall and with broad, tough cauline leaves; spikelets 6−35 per node; lemma body 7−11 mm long .. Elymus condensatus   [pics]

5′ Clonal perennials with shoots spaced along creeping rhizome, shoots ± erect, generally < 100 cm tall; spikelikes 2 per node at midpoint but at some nodes with 3 spikelets and other nodes only 1 spikelet; lemma 5−7.5 mm long .. Elymus triticoides subsp. triticoides   [pics]


Eragrostis Wolf    LOVE GRASS


1  Mat-forming by stolons and rooting at nodes in wet soil; blades < 25 mm long; axillary pulvini in inflorescence absent .. Eragrostis hypnoides

1′ Roots only at plant base, stolons absent; blades mostly > 30 mm long; axillary pulvini present in inflorescence

2  Palea keels prominently short-ciliate; lemmas with craterlike glands along keel (also below nodes along the stem) ......Eragrostis cilianensis

2′ Palea keels either smooth or minutely scabrous; shoots and inflorescence lacking craterlike glands

3  Stems and inflorescence axes with ring of glandular tissue below the nodes often shiny or yellowish .. Eragrostis barrelieri   [pics]

3′ Stems and inflorescence axes without ring of glandular tissue below the nodes

4  Axillary pulvinus of lateral inflorescence branch with hairs to 5 mm long; spikelets mostly with 9−13 florets .. Eragrostis pectinacea var. pectinacea

4′ Axillary pulvinus of lateral inflorescence branch glabrous; spikelets with 5−9 florets .. Eragrostis mexicana subsp. virescens


NB.  Eragrostis cilianensis (All.) Janch. was included in previous treatments but currently is excluded because the only known specimens were collected out of range in Westwood Village, but it should be expected in range.


Festuca L.    FESCUE


1  Inflorescence spikelike; glume 1 (= Lolium)

2  Glume shorter than spikelet .. Festuca perennis   [pics]

2′ Glumes nearly equal to the spikelet in length .. Festuca temulenta

1′ Inflorescence paniclelike; glumes 2

3  Perennials; stamens 3

4  Sheath closed about 3 mm at base, ligule 0.4−1 mm long; lower glume 4.5−5.5 mm long, upper glume 5.5−6.2 mm long .. Festuca arundinacea   [pics]

4′ Sheath open to base, ligule < 0.5 mm long; lower glume 2.2−3.3 mm long; upper glume 3−3.8 mm long .. Festuca elmeri   [pics]

3′ Annuals; stamens typically 1 (= Vulpia)

4  Lower glume 0.7−2 mm long, < 1/2 upper glume .. Festuca myuros   [pics]

4′ Lower glume 2−4.5 mm long

5  Spikelet with (5−)7−12 florets, appearing dense with overlapping spikelets .. Festuca octoflora

5′ Spikelet with 1−6 florets, not appearing dense

6  Inflorescence lateral branches and solitary spikelets widely spreading to reflexed by axillary pulvini .. Festuca microstachys   [pics]

6′ Inflorescence lateral branches appressed to erect at mature and lacking axillary pulvini .. Festuca bromoides


NB.  For convenience, the tuft grasses Festuca pratensis (L.) Columbus & J. P. Smith (MEADOW FESCUE) and F. rubra L. (RED FESCUE) have not been described.  These grasses are grown within range and certainly occur out of cultivation, i.e., where transported by storm runoff and are establish and cloning.  Such cultivated tuft grasses often are of hybrid parentage, and frequently sterile, so that choosing materials for description would also be problematic.


The genus Festuca here is treated in a very broad sense to include Vulpia and Lolium.


Hordeum L.    BARLEY


1  Blades > 4 mm wide; leaf sheath glabrous and having well-developed lobes (auricles)

2  Glumes of central spikelet and inner glume of lateral spikelets long-ciliate; rachis breaking apart at maturity, rachis segments 1.5−3 mm long .. Hordeum murinum   [pics]

3  Stalk of central floret 1.2−1.5 mm long; glumes of central floret > glumes of lateral florets; palea of central floret ± pilose to midpoint; anthers 0.2−0.6 mm long ......Hordeum murinum subsp. glaucum

3′ Stalk of central floret 1 mm long; glumes of central floret < glumes of lateral florets; palea of central floret scabrous to midpoint; anthers 0.9−3 mm long ......Hordeum murinum subsp. leporinum

2′ Glumes with fine, ascending short hairs; rachis not breaking apart at maturity, rachis segments 3−4.5 mm long .. Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare   [pics]

1′ Blades < 4 mm wide; leaf sheath pubescent to pilose and lacking auricles or to < 0.5 mm long (H. brachyanthemum)

4  Perennials; inflorescence breaking apart at maturity; glumes of lateral spikelets < 0.2 mm wide, not flattened and expanded near base .. Hordeum brachyantherum subsp. californicum

4′ Annuals; inflorescence not breaking apart at maturity; glumes of lateral spikelets at least 0.3 mm wide, flattened and expanded above base

5  Inflorescence (including awns) narrow, generally < 8 mm wide; rachis segments > 1 mm long; awn on lemma of lateral spikelets absent

6  Rachis segments ca. 1.2 mm long; glumes of central spikelet 8−13 mm long; stalk of lateral spikelets ca. 0.3 mm long; glumes of lateral spikelets 6.5−9 mm long .. Hordeum depressum   [pics]

6′ Rachis segments 1.5−1.9 mm long; glumes of central spikelet 15−16 mm long; stalk of lateral spikelets 0.8−1 mm long; glumes of lateral spikelets 13.5−16 mm long .. Hordeum intercedens

5′ Inflorescence (including awns) wider, generally > 8 mm wide; rachis segments < 1 mm long; awn on lemma of lateral spikelets > 2 mm long .. Hordeum marinum subsp. gussoneanum   [pics]


Leptochloa P. Beauv.   SPRANGLETOP


1  Blades of cauline leaves mostly 460−600 mm long and exceeding panicle; lower glume 1.5−2.8 mm long and upper glume 2.9−3.3 mm long; lemma fusiform, 3−3.5 mm long with a terminal awn 0.8−1.5 mm long, maturing smoky white .. Leptochloa fusca subsp. fascicularis   [pics]

1′ Blades of cauline leaves mostly 35−350 mm long, not concealing panicle; lower glume 1.1−1.3 mm long and upper glume 1.8−2.2 mm long; lemma elliptic, 2−2.6 mm long and lacking awn, maturing lead-colored (dark green) .. Leptochloa fusca subsp. uninervia   [pics]




1  Inflorescence closed and narrowly cylindric, 170−200+ × 6−8 mm; spikelets 7.5−10 mm long, with 6−7 florets having 5 bisexual florets and 1 or 2 upper florets sterile or rudimentary; lower glume 5.2−7 mm long, lemmas 7−7.7 mm long .. Melica californica   [pics]

1′ Inflorescence open and lanceoloid to ovoid with flexible, spreading lateral branches, 200−300+ × 50−100 mm; spikelets 3.5−4.5 mm long, with 2(−3) florets and upper floret sterile or rudimentary; lower glume 2.2−3.3 mm long, lemmas 3.5−4 mm long .. Melica imperfecta   [pics]


Muhlenbergia Schreb.   MUHLY


1  Annuals of barren ground on sandy and rocky slopes, often with purplish foliage and feathery inflorescences; awns slender, 10−22 mm long on lemma, purple aging light tan; cleistogamous spikelets hidden by several leaf sheaths at base of plant .. Muhlenbergia microsperma   [pics]

1′ Perennials of wet habitats

2  Clonal perennial herb with scaly rhizomes and leafy stolons from which arise shorter shoots, growing on waterfalls; blades 10−50(−70) × 1−2.5 mm; inflorescence a feathery, open panicle, 50 × 260 mm long, with spreading branches having a pulvinus at base .. Muhlenbergia asperifolia   [pics]

2′ Clump-forming, cespitose bunchgrass along creek beds, not clonal; blades 90−930 × 2−5 mm, often inrolled above midblade; inflorescence condensed and cylindric, 210−440 × 5−9 mm, on long peduncle .. Muhlenbergia rigens   [pics]


Paspalum L.


1  Blades 45−570 × 4−12 mm; inflorescence paniclelike with 3−7(−11) spikelike branches 30−115 mm long; glumes 1 (lower glume absent); bottlebrushlike stigmas purple to burgundy; achenes ± compressed-round, 1.9−2.1 mm .. Paspalum dilatatum   [pics]

1′ Blades to 130 mm long; inflorescence with (1−)2(−3) spikelike branches; glumes 1(−2)

2  Plants in monospecific stands from creeping stolons; blades 2−3.5 mm wide; branches of inflorescence paired at top of peduncle and spreading to reflexed, 26−45 mm long; bottlebrush stigmas colorless to light yellow aging reddish brown; achene compressed-ovoid, ± 3 × 1.9−2.2 mm; margins of upper glume and lower lemma glabrous .. Paspalum vaginatum   [pics]

2′ Plants with stolons and rhizomes but mixed with other plant species; blades 2.5−8 mm wide; branches of inflorescence staggered near top of peduncle (spaced to 9 mm apart), (10−)13−65(−70) mm long; bottlebrush stigmas dark burgundy; achene compressed-ellipsoid to slightly obovoid, 2.2−2.4 × 1.1−1.4 mm; margins of upper glume and lower lemma ciliate .. Paspalum distichum


Pennisetum Rich.    FOUNTAIN GRASS


1  Creeping herbs cloning by rhizomes and stolons, forming a mat; blades lanceolate, 9−11.5 × ca. 2 mm; inflorescence typically absent, when present terminal on short lateral shoots in a highly reduced and concealed cluster of 2−4 spikelets; stamens long-exserted from tip of palea, filaments becoming 40−55+ mm long and prostrate on turf canopy .. Pennisetum clandestinum   [pics]

1′ Cespitose herb with many ascending stems at base; blades linear, mostly 200−700 mm long; inflorescence a conspicuous, bristle-bearing panicle terminal on a long peduncle (culm) bearing many spikelets; filaments radiating from panicle and only to 6 mm long

2  Blades stiffy U-shaped base-to-tip; panicle (80−)110−250 × 40−62 mm, initially purple-red but fading after flowering; spikelet with 2 florets, having 1 glume, 2 lemmas, and 1 palea (upper floret) .. Pennisetum setaceum   [pics]

2′ Blades eventually flat for most of length; panicle 40−115 × 40−60 mm, appearing pale yellow to tawny white; spikelet with 2 florets but only forming an upper fruit, having 2 glumes, 2 lemmas, and 1 or 2 paleae .. Pennisetum villosum   [pics]


Phalaris L.    CANARY GRASS


1  Perennials, forming many-stemmed clump from rhizomes, plants in flower commonly > 100 cm tall and with cauline leaves > 250 mm long; dense panicle mostly 80+ mm long .. Phalaris aquatica   [pics]

1′ Annuals, lacking rhizomes, plants in flower typically < 100 cm tall and with cauline leaves < 250 mm long; dense panicle < 80 mm long

2  Spikelets in groups of 5 or more, 1 fertile surrounded by others sterile, the group falling as a unit; glume of fertile spikelet having a prominent lobe; in fruit panicles 7−9 mm diameter .. Phalaris paradoxa   [pics]

2′ Spikelets solitary, all alike and fertile, each spikelet falling individually; glume of fertile spikelet lacking a prominent lobe; in fruit panicles typically 10+ mm diameter

3  Panicles ± ovoid, 15−50 mm long; spikelet with 2 short sterile lemmas > 2 mm long inside the glumes below the fertile lemma (= 2 sterile florets with 1 fertile floret); glumes 7−10 mm long, margins minutely serrate .. Phalaris canariensis

3′ Panicles lanceoloid-cylindric, 10−75 mm long; spikelet with 1 short sterile lemma ca. 1 mm long; glumes mostly 4−5 mm long, margins minutely serrate but having larger, irregular teeth above midpoint .. Phalaris minor   [pics]


NB.  At least four other species of Phalaris should be expected in range, especially P. caroliniana Walter, for which good vouchers are required to include it in the flora.




1  Spikelets modified into bulblike structure, and each shoot having a bulbous base .. Poa bulbosa subsp. vivipara

1′ Plants lacking bulblike structures

2 Annuals .. Poa annua   [pics]

2′ Perennials

3  Bunchgrasses densely tufted, growing in scrubland in shallow soil; panicle compact and congested, with 1−3 erect to ascending lateral branches per node; spikelets 5−8 mm long; lemma 3.5−6 mm long .. Poa secunda subsp. secunda   [pics]

3′ Plants loosely tufted generally along stolons, growing in shaded wetlands; panicle open and wispy with ca. 5 spreading lateral branches per node; spikelets 3−5 mm long; lemmas 2−3 mm long .. Poa palustris


Polypogon Desf.    BEARD GRASS


1  Spikelets with awns on glumes and lemmas; panicle condensed; floret on short stalk

2  Rhizomatous perennials with shoots tufted along rhizome; stem internodes to 75 mm long; awns of glumes 1.5−2.9 mm long .. Polypogon interruptus   [pics]

2′ Annuals; stem internodes mostly 90−185 mm long; awns of glumes 4−8.5 mm long .. Polypogon monspeliensis   [pics]

1′ Spikelets lacking awns; panicle open with spreading lateral branches having a pulvinus at each base; floret subsessile .. Polypogon viridis   [pics]




1  Blades sparsely pilose on upper surface to midpoint; spikelet with both glumes exceeding the uppermost lemma; lemma deeply 2-lobed, the lobes 0.6−1 mm long and acute to acuminate, palea always noticeably shorter than lemma (typically to base of lemma lobes); stigmas exserted sideways from spikelet .. Schismus arabicus   [pics]

1′ Blades with pilose hairs on upper surface only at base near collar; spikelet with the uppermost lemma the same or exceeding lower glume; lemma shallowly notched, the lobes < 0.3 mm long and broad, palea of lower floret equal to or slightly longer than lemma; stigmas erect within florets .. Schismus barbatus   [pics]


Setaria P. Beauv.   BRISTLE GRASS


1  Blades (2−)5−12(−17) mm wide; panicle (including bristles) 25−85 × 11−15 mm, the bristles with downward-pointing barbs (retrorse) and typically 1(2) at base of spikelet .. Setaria adhaerens   [pics]

1′ Blades 2−4(−8) mm wide; panicle (including bristles) 5−7 mm diameter, the bristles with upward-pointing barbs (antrorse) and 4−12 at base of spikelet

2  Annuals, lacking knotlike nodes; panicle 15−35 mm long, lacking pulvinus at base of lateral branches; bristles in 2 unequal clusters .. Setaria pumila

2′ Perennial herbs, with knotlike nodes; panicle 25−70 mm long, with pulvinus at base of lateral branches; bristles not in 2 unequal clusters .. Setaria parviflora


Sorghum Moench


1  Annuals, with 1 principal, erect shoot; inflorescence dense and mostly fusiform, 90−250 × 15−30 mm, with stiff lateral branches; achenes ± spheroid, 3.9−4.3 × 4.1−4.5 × 2.7−3.1 mm, orangey to golden brown with black glumes .. Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor   [pics]

1′ Perennial herbs, rhizomatous and having several−many ascending to spreading principal shoots; inflorescence ovoid and open, 150−450 mm long, with flexible lateral branches; achenes ± obovoid, ± 3 × 1.9−2.3 mm, dull reddish brown with blackish glumes and having persistent whitish stalks of adjacent spikelets .. Sorghum halepense   [pics]




1  Shoots having 3−5 cauline leaves with blades typically 350−700+ mm long, having the blade twisted 180° near base so upper actually functions as lower surface; margins of upper sheath conspicuously ciliate flanking ciliate ligule; lemma with dense, straight hairs 1−3.5 mm long; panicle mostly 300−600 mm long .. Stipa coronata   [pics]

1′ Cauline leaves, if present, with blades to 350 mm and never twisted 180°; margins of upper sheath ciliate or not at top; lemma, if pubescent, with hairs < 1 mm long

2  Sheath of cauline leaves conspicuously < internode and often flaring from stem; blades remaining ± flat and mostly 4−12 mm wide; lemma not forming a crown at tip with erect hairs, its awn somewhat curved and wavy, 2.9−4 mm long and never twisted or sharply bent .. Stipa miliacea var. miliacea   [pics]

2′ Sheath of cauline leaves not as above; blades when removed or water-stressed becoming strongly inrolled upward (involute) and appearing cylindric and < 3 mm wide; lemma forming crown at tip with erect hairs, its awn 20+ mm long, aging twisted and with at least 1 sharp bend

3  Lemma hiding fruit 6−7 mm long + crown; awns 70−95 mm long

4  Crown of lemma 0.2−0.5 mm long with bristles 0.8−0.9 mm long; awn basal diameter 0.2−0.3 mm diameter, at maturity with 1 sharp bend and a weaker second bend .. Stipa cernua   [pics]

4′ Crown of lemma 0.6−1.1 mm long with bristles 0.25−1.1 mm long; awn basal diameter 0.4−0.55 mm diameter, at maturity with 2 sharp bends .. Stipa pulchra   [pics]

3′ Lemma hiding fruit 5−6 mm long + crown 0.25−0.3 mm long, bristles on crown < 0.5 mm long; awns 20−46(−55) mm long, with 1 bend, ± 0.15 mm diameter at base .. Stipa lepida   [pics]





1  Spinescent perennials

2  Shrubs 30−100 cm tall, flowering during springtime and dormant during summer; leaves and bracts palmately lobed with sharp tips; flowers 27−33 mm across, reddish purple to bright rose or dark rose lavender (white); calyx 9−10 mm long, lobes subequal .. Linanthus californicus   [pics]

2′ Suffrutescent perennials 5−30 cm tall; flowering during hot summer months; leaves and bracts pinnately lobed; flowers 8−10.5 mm across, blue-violet; calyx 4.5−5.5 mm long, lobes unequal (1 lobe obviously shorter) .. Eriastrum densifolium subsp. elongatum   [pics]

1′ Annuals

3  Leaves opposite (at least below principal inflorescence)

4  Blades entire

5  Plants diminutive with linear to threadlike leaves and showy flowers (sometimes larger than the rest of the plant); corolla lobes obovate, 6−9(−15) mm long .. Linanthus dianthiflorus   [pics]

5′ Plants wispy with narrowly elliptic to narrowly lanceolate or oblanceolate leaves (1.5−5 mm wide) and slender, inconspicuous flowers; corolla lobes narrowly heart-shaped, 1.2−2 mm long .. Microsteris gracilis   [pics]

4′ Blades deeply palmately lobed (leaves sometimes appearing whorled) with at least 3 lobes, leaves in a pair fused and sheathlike across node .. Leptosiphon

3′ Leaves typically alternate

6  Bracts conspicuous in inflorescence (bracteate), often stiff; calyx lobes ± unequal; anthers whitish to pale yellow (blue in spinescent Navarretia hamata subsp. hamata)

7  Plants ± spinescent (leaves, bracts, and calyx); inflorescence densely glandular-hairy, calyx with glandular hairs on both surfaces; corolla white to violet often with purple spots or veins .. Navarretia

7′ Plants not spinescent; inflorescence densely white-woolly, calyx woolly on outer surface; corolla blue to violet and lacking any purple .. Eriastrum

6′ Bracts not conspicuous in inflorescence and bractlets lacking beneath individual flowers; calyx lobes equal to subequal; anthers blue

8  Blade segments of upper leaves typically to 1 mm wide, lacking skunklike odor; flowers radial, 5.5−12 mm across; stamens attached at ± same level on corolla (equally inserted), anthers all positioned at the same level

9  Pedicels with glandular hairs having comparatively small heads .. Gilia

9′ Pedicels having ± tack-shaped glandular hairs with yellowish heads .. Saltugilia splendens subsp. splendens   [pics]

8′ Blade segments of upper leaves mostly 2−3.5 mm wide, having a skunklike odor from glandular hairs having small heads; flowers weakly bilateral, 4−5 mm across; stamens attached at different levels to corolla near base (unequally inserted), anthers not positioned at the same level and the longest ones conspicuously exserted .. Allophyllum glutinosum   [pics]


Eriastrum Wooton &  Standl.   WOOL STAR


1  Suffrutescent perennials; leaves commonly with > 4 lobes, the central lobe mostly > 35 mm long; calyx often purple with membranous panels, 4.5−5.5 mm long; corolla 14+ mm long, lobes lanceolate, 4−5.2 mm long, blue-violet; capsules with 1 seed per chamber, 2−4 mm long; seeds narrowly ellipsoid to lanceoloid, 1.6−2.5 mm long .. Eriastrum densifolium subsp. elongatum   [pics]

1′ Taprooted annuals; leaves with < 5 lobes, the central lobe to 32 mm long; calyx green with membranous panels; corolla to 12 mm long, lobes not lanceolate; seeds 1−1.5 mm long

2  Calyx 5−6 mm long with lobes 0.5−1.5 mm long; corolla 8−12 mm long, lobes elliptic to oblong, 3−6 mm long, bright violet to deep blue; pollen white; capsule with 1 seed per chamber, 2−3.5 mm long; seeds ellipsoid to lanceoloid .. Eriastrum sapphirinum subsp. sapphirinum   [pics]

2′ Calyx 6−8 mm long with lobes 1.5−3 mm long; corolla 7−9 mm long, lobes oblanceolate to elliptic, 2.5−3.2 mm long, moderate purple to violet; pollen pale yellow; capsule with 3−5 seeds per chamber, 4−5 mm long; seeds ± trapezoid .. Eriastrum filifolium   [pics]


Gilia Luis Ruiz & Pavón


1  Cymes with > 8 flowers; style long-exserted above anthers

2  Inflorescence a dense, ball-like cluster, mostly 20+ mm across, with shaggy hairs; style with 3 short stigmatic branches; valves of capsules detaching to release seeds .. Gilia capitata subsp. abrotanifolia   [pics]

2′ Inflorescence hemi-spheroidal, < 15 mm across, glandular-hairy; style branches 2−2.5 mm long; valves not detaching to release seeds .. Gilia achilleifolia

1′ Cymes with 1−10 flowers in a ± open arrangement; style included to somewhat exserted

3  Calyx tube + throat 2−3.5 mm long, membranous panels with purple; corolla with 5 purple or dark violet streaks from upper yellow throat to lobes; pistil ± 3.5 mm long; capsules 4−4.5 mm long and nearly = calyx .. Gilia clivorum   [pics]

3′ Calyx tube + throat ± 1.5 mm long, membranous panels lacking purple; corolla lacking dark streaks in throat; pistil ± 6 mm long; capsules ca. 3 mm long and < calyx .. Gilia angelensis   [pics]


NB.  There is considerable variation in gilias within range, from site to site and between good and poor rain years, so it is still unclear how many species and subspecies should be listed.  For example, in 2010 a population was discovered by SMMNRA staff growing in full sun on a rocky slope along Triumfo Canyon Road in Westlake Village (SMM), occurring with many other native herbs on very thin soil.  It has 3-seeded capsules and resembles Gilia but could also be a non-spinescent species of Navarretia, e.g., N. leptalea (A. Gray) L. A. Johnson; unfortunately, the plant has not appeared in subsequent dry years, and needs to be studied more carefully.  This unidentified polemon has dark lavender to pink corolla lobes, light violet filaments ca. 0.8 mm long having light blue anthers, and an included pistil with the stigmas positioned several millimeters below the anthers.


Leptosiphon Benth.


1  Flowers clustered in terminal heads (dense cymes); corolla with a slender tube

2  Blade lobes lacking hairs; flowers 8−9(−11) mm across; corolla in range white often with bright yellow at base; stamens with filaments 2−2.5 mm long and anthers 1−2.2 mm long .. Leptosiphon parviflorus   [pics]

2′ Blade lobes ciliate; flowers 5−6 mm across; corolla in range purplish red; stamens with filaments ± 1.5 mm long and anthers 0.4−0.9 mm long .. Leptosiphon ciliatus   [pics]

1′ Flowers not clustered in terminal heads

3  Plants wispy, 10−55 cm tall and inconspicuously leafy; flowers 7−12 mm across, pale bluish violet .. Leptosiphon liniflorus   [pics]

3′ Plants diminutive, 2−10 cm tall; flowers ca. 2.5 mm across, white .. Leptosiphon pygmaeus subsp. continentalis


Linanthus Benth.


1  Ephemeral annuals, 2−18 cm tall, with slender, wiry stems; leaves paired and linear or threadlike, 3−20 mm long; flowers often larger than rest of plant, 9−30 mm across, on pedicels initially 5−8 mm long; corolla mostly lavender, pink, or rose, or white at tips, with a purple ring in throat becoming 5 wedge-shaped or heart-shaped spots; filaments 5−7 mm long; style 8.5−10 mm long .. Linanthus dianthiflorus   [pics]

1′ Spinescent shrubs, 30−100 cm tall; leaves sharp-tipped and tufted on unexpanded axillary shoots, deeply palmately divided nearly to base with (3)5 or 7(9) lobes, to 12 mm long; flowers scattered in canopy and mostly subsessile at anthesis; corolla mostly reddish purple, bright rose, or dark rose-lavender (white) with throat alternating reddish purple and white; filaments to 2 mm long; style ± 4.5 mm long .. Linanthus californicus   [pics]


Navarretia Ruiz Lopez & Pavón


1  Plants mildly spinescent; corolla lobes cream or light violet to violet with a deep purple W-shaped spot at base; stamens 3−4.5 mm long within a flower; style exserted, to 9 mm long; capsules 1-seeded .. Navarretia mitracarpa   [pics]

1′ Plants strongly spinescent fresh or dried; corolla pale pink to light or dark violet but lacking W-shaped spot; stamens and styles shorter than stated above; capsules many-seeded

2  Shoots glandular-tomentose aging without heads, pleasantly aromatic with subtle, honeylike fragrance; corolla 5.5−7 mm long, lobes light violet aging violet with 5−7 purple veins radiating from base; style included, 0.8−1.2 mm long; capsules 2.8−3.1 mm long .. Navarretia mellita   [pics]

2′ Shoots with stalked glandular hairs of mixed lengths, with faint skunklike odor; capsules 2−2.5 mm long, when immature often with 3 red stripes

3  Corolla lobes light violet with white at base (all white) aging and drying darker; style ± 7.5 mm long .. Navarretia hamata subsp. hamata   [pics]

3′ Corolla lobes pale pink, sometimes with purplish spotting on lower surface; style 3.2−4 mm long .. Navarretia hamata subsp. leptantha   [pics]


NB.  Populations of Navarretia throughout the range need much more study to sort out identifications and degree of variability.  Problems to study this group include the oddity that this group blooms during the dry season, when botanists tend not to be out collecting plants in southern California.  Populations are also small and widely dispersed, and are undependable as to in what year they will germinate.  Materials from range until now have not received much notice, whereas our populations may provide insight into how broadly species should be defined.





Polygala L.    MILKWORT


.. Polygala cornuta var. fishiae   [pics]





1  Stipules present, a conspicuous, membranous cylinder sheathing stem internode (ocrea)

2  Leaves opposite on trailing shoots, blades fan-shaped and conspicuously 2-lobed; flowers unisexual (bisexual), axillary, pistillate flower enclosed by involucre having 2 veiny, comblike wings .. Pterostegia drymarioides   [pics]

2′ Leaves helically alternate, blades neither fan-shaped nor 2-lobed; flowers unisexual or bisexual, never enclosed in involucre (bracts)

3  Plants with clusters of unisexual flowers and fruits in each branch fork; achene embedded within a hard perianth tube, burlike with outer 3 lobes (tepals) being curved spines .. Emex spinosa   [pics]

3′ Plants with mostly bisexual flowers, with terminal inflorescence and sometimes also axillary inflorescence but not flowering at every branch fork; achene loosely enclosed or not by a persistent perianth, sometimes perianth spinescent but never hard or burlike

4  Perianth of 5 petal-like parts, enlarging only slightly in fruit, lobes white, pink, or rose

5  Plants ascending to erect, 20+ cm tall; blades 8−80 mm wide; dense spikelike panicle of condensed cymes .. Persicaria

5′ Plants matlike on ground; blades 1.5−9 mm wide; axillary or terminal condensed cymes .. Polygonum

4′ Perianth of 6 parts arranged as lobes in dimorphic 2 whorls, lobes mostly green and inner whorl often forming 1 or more tubercles by enlargement of the midvein .. Rumex

1′ Stipules absent

6  Involucre containing a cyme of 2+ flowers, the flowers on pedicels and at anthesis exserted from tubular to bell-shaped involucre

7  Bract subtending involucre entire; involucre many-flowered and lacking spines .. Eriogonum

7′ Bract subtending involucre or cluster of involucre 3-lobed; involucre with 2−6 flowers, spiny .. Mucronea californica   [pics]

6′ Involucre enclosing typically 1 sessile to subsessile flower, awns present on involucre

8  Involucre 6-lobed and urn-shaped, showy perianth lobes usually exposed from involucre at anthesis; perianth 6-lobed; stamens 9 .. Chorizanthe

8′ Involucre of 3 bracts fused only at base, perianth lobes not showy and having hooked awns; perianth 5-lobed; stamens 3 .. Lastarriaea coriacea   [pics]


Chorizanthe Benth.   SPINEFLOWER


1  Involucre with hooked awns, at anthesis tube 2−3 mm long, grayish pubescent with strigose-villous hairs; perianth lobes pale to dark pink or purplish pink (white) .. Chorizanthe staticoides   [pics]

1′ Involucre with straight awns, at anthesis tube (1.5−)1.7−2 mm long, sparsely puberulent; perianth lobes white .. Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina   [pics]


Eriogonum Michx.    WILD BUCKWHEAT


1  Involucres typically 1(−2) per node

2  Taprooted annuals, mostly 1-stemmed at base (sometimes several-stemmed in E. gracile); involucre appearing mostly glabrous

3  Stems 6-ridged; involucre conic to cup-shaped, 1.4−2.5 mm long, minutely glandular-hairy; flowers en masse appearing rose-purple; perianth with “clawed” lobes; filaments glabrous .. Eriogonum angulosum   [pics]

3′ Stems cylindric; involucre vase-shaped, appearing glabrous, internally tomentose; filaments short-pilose at base

4  Involucre 2−3.5 mm long; perianth ca. 1.5 mm long, lobes yellowish green with green or rose-red midstripe (outer whorl) and white (pinkish) with yellow-green midstripe, both aging yellow with red midstripe .. Eriogonum gracile var. gracile   [pics]

4′ Involucre 4−4.5 mm long; perianth typically at least 2 mm long, lobes white with green midstripe or outer whorl aging reddish with dark red midstripe .. Eriogonum cithariforme var. agninum   [pics]

2′ Perennials; involucres densely white-woolly

5  Perennial herb to subshrub with long, whiplike, photosynthetic axes 60−150 cm tall; involucre (4−)6−7 mm long .. Eriogonum elongatum var. elongatum   [pics]

5′ Subshrubs with densely white-woolly foliage (at least on lower surface), 10−50 cm tall

6  Involucres 3−4 mm long, fringed with 5−8 erect lobes; flowers bright yellow to bright greenish yellow; perianth tube funnel-shaped from short-stalked base .. Eriogonum crocatum   [pics]

6′ Involucres 2−3 mm long, with 5 lobes appearing fused by dense white wool; flowers white; perianth tube broadly funnel-shaped but lacking stalked base .. Eriogonum wrightii var. membranaceum   [pics]

1′ Involucres typical 2+ per node

7  Evergreen shrub with long shoot-short shoot organization, having linear to elliptic-linear or oblanceolate-linear leaves blades 1−3.7 mm wide with strongly inrolled margins (revolute)

8  Stems and inflorescence axes, surfaces of blades, and involucre tomentose to villous-tomentose; lobes of perianth with hairs .. Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum   [pics]

8′ Stems and inflorescence axes, surfaces of blades, and involucre glabrous to glabrate; lobes of perianth without hairs ......Eriogonum fasciculatum var. fasciculatum

7′ Shrubs having blades lanceolate or ovate to elliptic or oblong, (4−)6−50 mm wide

9  Plants with long shoot-short shoot organization; blades with strongly inrolled margins, at maturity upper surface dark olive green and glabrescent, lower surface densely white-woolly; lobes of perianth lacking hairs .. Eriogonum parvifolium   [pics]

9′ Plants lacking long shoot-short shoot organization; blades lacking inrolled margins, both surfaces conspicuously grayish and tomentose; lobes of perianth having hairs

10  Petioles 1−15 mm long; involucres in dense, ball-like clusters to 30 mm across; flowers 4−5 mm across .. Eriogonum cinereum   [pics]

10′ Petioles 10−30 mm long; involucres borne in an extremely large and flat-topped inflorescence to 600 × 600 mm with 8+ orders of branching; flowers 2.5−3 mm across .. Eriogonum giganteum var. giganteum   [pics]


Persicaria (L.) Miller   SMARTWEED, KNOTWEED


1  Aquatic perennial herbs forming shoreline and shallow water clones by rhizomes and horizontal stolons (erect unbranched shoot from each stolon node); shoots ± glabrous and not gland-dotted, strigose on young ochreas and sometimes bristly-ciliate; panicle of cymes 40−110 × 8−17 mm, densely stalked-glandular; perianth 4−5.5 mm long, not gland-dotted; filaments 2.7−4 mm long .. Persicaria amphibia   [pics]

1′ Annuals or perennial herbs, often growing along wet banks, if perennial with a short rhizome, but never forming stolons; panicle of cymes < 8 mm diameter; perianth to 3 mm long; filaments to 1.2 mm long

2  Ocreas, blade surfaces, and perianth gland-dotted; ocreas bristly-ciliate 1−3 mm long; panicle of cymes 30−120 × 6−8 mm, appearing somewhat interrupted; perianth green with white margins (pinkish) .. Persicaria punctata

2′ Ocreas not gland-dotted; panicle of cymes not interrupted; perianth 1.5−2.3 mm long, white (P. maculosa appears pink or rose in bud but perianth later mostly white)

3  Shoots with most blades having a light purplish red blotch on upper surface (fading); panicle of cymes ascending, 12−45 × 6−8 mm, lacking glandular hairs .. Persicaria maculosa   [pics]

3′ Shoots having stems with conspicuous purplish red spots; panicle of cymes arching or nodding, 25−60 × 3−6.5 mm, in range with stalked glandular hairs .. Persicaria lapathifolia   [pics]


Polygonum L.    KNOTWEED


1  Plants mat-forming with radiating shoots resting on the ground, leafy throughout, having leaves overtopping and somewhat concealing short, axillary, spikelike cymes; achenes somewhat dull and rough to minutely bumpy .. Polygonum aviculare subsp. depressum   [pics]

1′ Plants with decumbent to ascending shoots, upper portions with leaves greatly reduced, leaves not overtopping or concealing axillary, spikelike cymes; achenes glossy and smooth .. Polygonum argyrocoleon


Rumex L.    DOCK, SORREL


1  Individual plants with only staminate or only pistillate flowers (dioecious), clonal so that only 1 sex may occur in a local population, to 45 cm tall; blades oblanceolate to narrowly obovate with a pair of basal lobes (hastate), 30−57 × 8−12 mm .. Rumex acetosella   [pics]

1′ Individual plants with bisexual flowers but sometimes mixed with smaller pistillate flowers

2 Perennial herbs and several-stemmed at base; basal rosette absent and cauline leaves lanceolate (willowlike); lobes of inner perianth on fruit < 15 mm wide

3  Inner perianth whorl on fruit lacking tubercles .. Rumex californicus   [pics]

3′ Inner perianth whorl on fruit having 1 tubercle .. Rumex salicifolius   [pics]

2′ Plants with both basal and cauline leaves

4  Annuals typically < 30 cm tall; ocrea 3−7 mm long; in fruit margins of inner lobe of perianth with 1−3 widely spreading and widely spaced bristlelike teeth .. Rumex persicarioides   [pics]

4′  Perennial or biennial herbs in fruit typically > 30 cm tall; ocrea 10+ mm long; in fruit margins of inner lobe of perianth entire to toothed but teeth not fine and bristlelike

5  Inner perianth lobes ± entire

6  Fruiting perianth (valves) deltate-ovate, 4−5.3 mm long and veiny, rounded at tip, and having 3 tubercles of different sizes .. Rumex crispus   [pics]

6′ Fruiting perianth (valves) oblong to tongue-shaped, 2−3 mm long, obtuse at tip and with narrow perianth margin having 3 large, subequal tubercles covering most of perianth width .. Rumex conglomeratus   [pics]

5′ Inner perianth lobes with at least several coarse teeth below midpoint

7  Blades 150−430 mm long, generally cordate at base; on fruit, tubercles 3, the largest lanceoloid and only to midpoint, teeth absent above midpoint .. Rumex obtusifolius   [pics]

7′ Blades typically truncate to tapered at base

8  Inflorescence branches spreading; in fruit, teeth of inner perianth lobe not wider at base, 0.3−2.5 mm long .. Rumex pulcher

8′ Inflorescence branches ascending; in fruit, teeth of inner perianth lobe wider at base, 0.2−1.5 mm long

9  In fruit, inner perianth lobe 6+ mm long, round, generally cordate, teeth 0.2−0.5 mm long, each much wider at base .. Rumex kerneri

9′ In fruit, inner perianth lobe 3.5−5 mm long, round-ovate to triangular-ovate, truncate or ± cordate at base, teeth 0.2−1.5 mm long, each ± wider at base .. Rumex stenophyllus   [pics]


NB.  In range there are many forms of Rumex, in disturbed but also wetland habitats, and they have not been studied adequately to determine with certainty which species are present and what are their names.  At least eleven species, and up to fourteen taxa, may be present in range, including names occurring on herbarium sheets that may not be correctly identified. Hence, the above key likely will not help the user much until species identities can be clarified. The above key is simply a place holder.





Portulaca L.    PURSLANE


.. Portulaca oleracea   [pics]





Stuckenia Börner

.. Stuckenia pectinata   [pics]







.. Dodecatheon clevelandii   [pics]





1  Woody climbers; leaves opposite; perianth (sepals) creamy white; achenes with persistent, long, feathery persistent styles (plumose beaks) .. Clematis

1′ Herbs; leaves alternate; perianth variously pigmented; fruits lacking feathery persistent styles

2  Leaves 3−4-compound with 3 divisions at each fork; plants dioecious; perianth with only 1 whorl (sepals) .. Thalictrum

2′ Leaves 1-compound with 3 leaflets or palmately lobed usually with 3 principal lobes; plants with bisexual flowers; perianth with sepals and usually petals

3  Flowers radially symmetric, lacking a spur; perianth with green or yellowish sepals and yellow petals (petals sometimes absent); achenes several−many on an expanded receptacle .. Ranunculus

3′ Flowers bilaterally symmetric, having a conspicuous spur; perianth of blue, violet, or red sepals and petals; fruits a set of 3 follicles .. Delphinium


Clematis L.    VIRGIN’S BOWER


1  Leaves pinnately 3(5)-foliolate; flowers in 1−3(5)-flowered cymes during winter and spring; flowers 34−47 mm across, on pedicels 40−70 mm long; pistils mostly 100−200 .. Clematis lasiantha   [pics]

1′ Leaves pinnately 5−9-foliolate to 2-pinnately compound; flowers in several−many-flowered panicles of cymes during summer; flowers 16−20 mm across, on pedicels 9−15 mm long; pistils 35−65 and with styles hidden by long hairs .. Clematis ligusticifolia   [pics]


Delphinium L.    LARKSPUR


1  Plants in flower 60−300 cm tall; blades of basal leaves 100−150(−200) mm long; flowers scarlet (yellow), with sepal and petal spur 15−24 mm long .. Delphinium cardinale   [pics]

1′ Plants in flower 25−100 cm tall; blades of basal leaves to 75 mm long; flowers violet to violet-blue or pale violet (white) but never scarlet, with sepal and petal spur 8−10.5 mm long

2  Division of leaves present at flowering time usually < 5 mm wide, with acuminate sublobes; stamens 25−30, with filaments 3.5−6 mm long and violet above midpoint (paler in light-colored morphs); rachis and pedicels (stems) short-hairy; seeds ca. 1.5 mm long .. Delphinium parryi subsp. parryi   [pics]

2′ Division of leaves present at flowering time 10−20 mm wide, with rounded sublobes; stamens 20−25, with filaments ± 6 mm long and lavender-white base to tip; rachis and pedicels (stems) glabrous; seeds 2−2.5 mm long .. Delphinium patens subsp. hepaticoideum   [pics]


NB.  Delphinium parryi A. Gray subsp. blochmaniae (Greene) H. Lewis & Epling has been reported in range from one inland site (Long Grade Canyon, Ventura County) but probably is incorrect.


Ranunculus L.    BUTTERCUP


1  Perennial herb 35−95 cm tall; flowers 13.5−27 mm across, showy with glossy, bright yellow petals; stamens 30−40+; achenes glabrous on surfaces .. Ranunculus californicus var. californicus   [pics]

1′ Annual 8−25 cm tall; flowers 2−2.5 mm across, nonshowy and sometimes lacking petals; stamens 2−5; achenes with short, hooked bristles on surfaces .. Ranunculus hebecarpus   [pics]


NB.  Ranunculus cymbalaria Pursh was formerly included in the flora but appears to be out of range based on revised boundaries that exclude the Los Angeles River.


Thalictrum L.    MEADOW RUE


1  Plants neither densely clumped nor clonal; blades having glandular hairs and skunklike odor, principal veins not sunken on upper surface; sepals of staminate flowers 3−3.5 mm long; before dehiscence anthers 2.5−3 mm long; achenes with 3 principal, unbranched veins from base on each surface .. Thalictrum fendleri   [pics]

1′ Plants densely clumped and clonal; blades lacking glandular hairs and foul odor, principal veins sunken on upper surface; sepals of staminate flowers 4.5−5 mm long; before dehiscence anthers 3.5−4.5 mm long; achenes with 1 vein from base on each surface and branched venation .. Thalictrum polycarpum   [pics]





Oligomeris Cambess.


.. Oligomeris linifolia   [pics]





1  Flowers showy, white to lavender, violet, blue, or purple-blue; petals distinctly clawed with limb cupping anther in bud; fruit a 3-chambered schizocarpic capsule .. Ceanothus

1′ Flowers nonshowy, greenish or greenish yellow; if present, petals not clawed; fruit a drupe with 2 stones

2  Blades with lateral veins conspicuously sunken on upper surface; flowers bisexual; sepals and petals mostly 5, petals < 2 mm long and whitish to pale yellow; drupes 10−12 mm diameter, ± blackish when ripe in late summer, pulp juicy .. Frangula californica subsp. californica   [pics]

2′ Blades without lateral veins sunken on upper surface; dioecious, each type having aborted other sex; sepals mostly 4 and petals absent; drupes 5−7.5 mm diameter, red when ripe in late spring and early summer, pulp firm .. Rhamnus




1  Blades ± thick and stiff, having stomates in pits (stomatal crypts) on lower surface; stipules ± conic, corky, and persistent; perianth and filaments white (pale violet); capsule with hornlike appendage on each segment

2  Leaves alternate; blades mostly obovate to elliptic and truncate to notched at tip; immature capsules 7.5−10(−12) mm diameter .. Ceanothus megacarpus var. megacarpus   [pics]

2′ Leaves opposite; blades ovate to oblanceolate or elliptic but never truncate or notched at tip

3  Blades 2−12 mm wide, entire, lower surface canescent but pits clearly visible on lower surface; stipules not touching; immature capsules 4−5 mm diameter with erect horns at tip .. Ceanothus cuneatus var. cuneatus   [pics]

3′ Blades 10−20 mm wide, mostly short-dentate, lower surface densely white-tomentose concealing pits; stipules mostly touching; immature capsules 5−8 mm diameter with horns on shoulders .. Ceanothus crassifolius var. crassifolius   [pics]

1′ Blades not unusually thick, lacking stomates in pits on lower surface; stipules thin and early-deciduous; perianth and filaments blue to purple-blue, light lavender, or light violet (white); capsule without hornlike appendages

4  Blades with only 1 vein at base, lower surface glossy; twigs and young branches remaining green (not glaucous) .. Ceanothus spinosus   [pics]

4′ Blades with ± 3 veins at base, lower surface dull; twigs and young branches either developing some bark or gray-glaucous

5  Leaves mostly on spine-tipped short shoots; blades conspicuously gray-glaucous, ± entire, veins not sunken on upper surface, lower surface sparsely puberulent-strigose along principal veins; flowers 5−6 mm across; pistil ca. 2.5 mm long .. Ceanothus leucodermis   [pics]

5′ Leaves on flexible twigs; blades dark green above and often bluish below, short-dentate to short-serrate on margins with teeth initially glandular, principal veins sunken on upper surface, lower surface ± sericeous along principal veins; flowers 4−4.5 mm across; pistil 1−1.7 mm long .. Ceanothus oliganthus var. oliganthus   [pics]


Rhamnus L.    BUCKTHORN


1  Plants with leaves on short, sharp-pointed spur shoots; stipules ± 1.5 mm long; blades 4−18(−24) × 3−13 mm; sepals 1−1.5 mm long; staminate flowers 4−4.5 mm across with hypanthium conic to hemispheric 1−1.5 mm long .. Rhamnus crocea   [pics]

1′ Plants with leaves not on spur shoots; stipules 3−6 mm long; blades 15−75 × 13−62 mm; sepals 2−3 mm long; staminate flowers 5−6 mm across with hypanthium bell-shaped to funnel-shaped 2−2.5 mm long .. Rhamnus ilicifolia   [pics]





1  Axes with sharp prickles derived from large-based glandular hairs

2  Leaves pinnately compound with 5−9 sessile leaflets; flowers 30−50 mm across, purplish pink to purple-rose; hypanthium urn-shaped and containing many pistils, developing as a fleshy, red-orange fruit (hip) enclosing achenes .. Rosa californica   [pics]

2′ Leaves appearing palmately compound with most leaflets having petiolules; flowers 18−36 mm across, white (pale pink); hypanthium dish-shaped with many helically arranged pistils on an elevated, conic receptacle, developing as a fleshy aggregate fruit of adherent drupelets (blackberrylike) .. Rubus

1′ Axes lacking sharp prickles

3  Small trees or shrubs

4  Leaves compound, 20−36-foliolate and finely dissected (fernlike), densely glandular and strongly medicinal aromatic .. Chamaebatia australis   [pics]

4′ Leaves simple;

5  Blades needlelike or linear, 4−15 × 0.5−1.5 mm .. Adenostoma

5′ Blades longer and much broader

6  Ovary inferior or hemi-inferior, becoming a fleshy pome

7  Trees with dense canopy of evergreen leaves with conspicuous teeth

8  Blades 140−400 mm long; young hairs orangey brown; panicle of cymes with flowers 21−25 mm across; petals 9−13 mm long; pomes obovoid, 30−35 mm long, yellow-orange .. Eriobotrya japonica   [pics]

8′ Blades 30−130 mm long; young hairs whitish; panicle of cymes with flowers 7−9 mm long; petals 2−3 mm long; pomes ovoid to spheroid, 3.5−5 mm long, red .. Heteromeles arbutifolia   [pics]

7′ Shrubs with evergreen or deciduous leaves entire or with inconspicuous teeth on margins

9  Leaves on spine-tipped spur shoots; blades oblanceolate to obovate, ± notched at tip, lower surface sparsely hairy to glabrate .. Pyracantha angustifolia   [pics]

9′ Leaves ± plagiotropic; blades broadly elliptic to ovate, not notched at tip, lower surface densely villous-tomentose .. Cotoneaster pannosus   [pics]

6′ Ovary superior

10 Deciduous; blades palmately lobed, with spheric glandular hairs and mildly spicy-scented; petals ± 2 mm long .. Holodiscus discolor var. discolor   [pics]

10′ Evergreen; blades unlobed, lacking glandular hairs

11  Blades conspicuously pinnately veined with straight, parallel lateral veins to each tooth and sunken on upper surface, margins inrolled; petals absent; fruit an achene with a long, feathery style (plumose beak) .. Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides   [pics]

11′ Blades without straight lateral veins, margins not inrolled; petals 8−11 mm long and white; fruit a fleshy drupe .. Prunus

3′ Herbs

12 Delicate annuals with small, palmately lobed, fan-shaped leaves; flowers in condensed axillary clusters and inconspicuous with 1 stamen and lacking petals .. Aphanes occidentalis   [pics]

12′ Perennial herbs with pinnately compound leaves; flowers in dense terminal clusters

13  Plants conspicuously glandular-hairy throughout; flowers bisexual in a terminal cyme; sepals 5; petals 5; achenes many, not concealed by hypanthium

14  Foliage villous; petals yellow; stamens 20−25 .. Drymocallis glandulosa var. wrangelliana   [pics]

14′ Foliage not villous, sometimes with peglike hairs; petals white with pale green veins; stamens 10 .. Horkelia cuneata var. cuneata   [pics]

13′ Plants lacking glandular hairs and appearing nearly glabrous; flowers staminate, bisexual, and pistillate in a headlike spike; sepals 4; petals absent; fruit a stonelike hypanthium with 4 wings enclosed two achenes .. Poterium sanguisorba


Adenostoma Hooker & Arnott


1  Leaves in fascicles at nodes; stipules winglike at base of petiole; young stem smooth and lacking glands; flowers all sessile .. Adenostoma fasciculatum var. fasciculatum   [pics]

1′ Leaves solitary at each node; stipules absent; young stem covered with decurrent leaf bases and resinous from scattered, blisterlike glands; flowers of lower inflorescence with pedicels .. Adenostoma sparsifolium   [pics]


Prunus L.    CHERRY


1  Blades 16−65 mm long, distinctly spinose-toothed on margins (hollylike); petioles 4−11 mm long; stipules < 2.5 mm long; flowers ca. 8 mm across; filaments 1−2.5 mm long .. Prunus ilicifolia subsp. ilicifolia   [pics]

1′ Blades mostly > 65 mm long, entire to remotely toothed on margins; petioles 14−26 mm long; stipules 3−4.5 mm long; flowers 9−11 mm across; filaments 2.5−3 mm long .. Prunus ilicifolia subsp. lyonii   [pics]




1  Leaves mostly palmately 3-foliolate on vigorous shoots; plants functionally dioecious, with 1−6 structurally bisexual flowers in cymes; hypanthium 3.5−5 mm long; stamens mostly 70−90 (staminate flowers); aggregate fruit with 30−40 drupelets .. Rubus ursinus   [pics]

1′ Leaves mostly palmately 5-foliolate on vigorous shoots; plants with bisexual flowers, with many flowers in panicles of cymes; hypanthium ca. 1.5 mm long; stamens > 125; aggregate fruit with 12−25 drupelets .. Rubus armeniacus   [pics]





1  Flowers solitary or in cymes; corollas dishlike (rotate), greenish white, cream-colored, rose, to yellowish .. Galium

1′ Flowers in headlike cymes within a leafy involucre; corollas trumpet-shaped, lavender or light to moderate purplish pink .. Sherardia arvensis   [pics]


Galium L.    BEDSTRAW


1  Annuals with taproots; leaves (including leaflike stipules) 6 or 8; flowers bisexual, each forming mericarps (nutlets) typically having hooked bristle-hairs

2  Blades (4−)13−45 mm long, with downward-projected, hooked prickles; flowers 2.2−3 mm across, with whitish perianth; pedicels in fruit several−15 mm long; mericarps 2.2−2.8 mm long with bristles to 0.6 mm long .. Galium aparine   [pics]

2′ Blades 3.5−9 mm long, with upward-projected, hooked prickles; flowers ± 1 mm across, with greenish to yellowish green perianth; pedicels in fruit to 2 mm long; mericarps ca. 1 mm long with short, whitish, hooked bristles (rarely absent) .. Galium parisiense   [pics]

1′ Perennials; leaves (including leaflike stipules) mostly 4; flowers functionally unisexual, pistillate flower forming mericarps (nutlets) lacking hooked bristle-hairs; perianth lobes yellowish green, greenish yellow, or yellowish

3  Plants forming a low, compact, mosslike mat; blades mostly awl-shaped with bristle tip, 3−3.5 × 0.3−0.6 mm .. Galium andrewsii subsp. intermedium   [pics]

3′ Plants not compact, with spreading to ascending, weak-stemmed branchlets; blades mostly lanceolate to oblanceolate, elliptic or ovate (not awl-shaped), mostly > 0.6 mm wide

4 Shrubs or subshrubs; shoots not noticeably scabrous, lacking curved prickle-hairs, stems densely puberulent with firms hairs; nutlets densely covered with radiating, bristlelike hairs to 1.5 mm long .. Galium angustifolium subsp. angustifolium   [pics]

4′ Mostly herbaceous but slightly woody at base; shoots scabrous or somewhat so, having backward-curved, sharp prickle-hairs along stem ridges and blade margins, stems lacking short hairs; nutlets glabrous and fleshy

5  Climbing and clambering over other plants; blades narrowly obovate to narrowly lanceolate 0.7−5 × 0.6−1.8 mm but appearing narrower and linear when inrolled, surfaces dull, with curved prickle-hairs along lower midrib .. Galium nuttallii subsp. nuttallii   [pics]

5′ Perennial herb generally not climbing; blades ovate to elliptic, 7−16 × 2.5−6 mm, flat (not inrolled), surfaces somewhat glossy, lacking curved prickle-hairs along lower midrib .. Galium cliftonsmithii


NB.  Galium californicum Hooker & Arnott subsp. flaccidum (Greene) Dempster & Stebbins was reported once from Stokes Canyon (SMM), and could occur in range.  This plant produces blades like G. cliftonsmithii but instead has pubescent stems, leaves, ovaries, and fruits, and also has curved prickle-hairs along the lower midrib.  Plants identified previously as G. porrigens Dempster in Griffith Park do not appear distinct from G. nuttallii subsp. nuttallii.  It has been suggested that G. angustifolium A. Gray subsp. foliosum (Hilend & J. T. Howell) Dempster & Stebbins, a taxon of the California Islands, may occur in range within the westernmost coastal zone, and it may, but a definitive sample to date has not been recorded.







.. Ruppia maritima   [pics]





Nolina Mitchx.    BEARGRASS


.. Nolina cismontana   [pics]





Calodendrum Thunb.   CAPE CHESTNUT


.. Calodendrum capense   [pics]





1  Blades ovate to deltate, rarely twice as long as wide; petioles usually 20−55 mm long; involucre surrounding base of flower; nectaries absent; stamens 8−55; immature fruit ovoid to broadly ellipsoid, 3(−4)-valved, 6.5−8 mm diameter .. Populus

1′ Blades lanceolate or oblanceolate to elliptic or linear, usually at least four times as long as wide; petioles < 20 mm long; involucre absent; nectaries present on staminate and pistillate flowers; stamens 2−8; immature fruit lanceoloid, 2-valved, < 2 mm diameter .. Salix




1  Petiole strongly compressed side-to-side approaching blade; blades green but slightly paler on lower surface; staminate inflorescence 12−15 mm diameter; ovary spheroid, 2 mm diameter, shallowly 3-lobed, glabrous .. Populus fremontii subsp. fremontii   [pics]

1′ Petiole cylindric approaching blade; blades somewhat glaucous and whitish on lower surface; staminate inflorescence 6−10 mm diameter; ovary broadly ovoid, 3−4 mm diameter, 6-ribbed, villous .. Populus trichocarpa   [pics]


Salix L.    WILLOW


1  Conspicuously clonal; blades linear to narrowly oblanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, never exceeding 8 mm diameter, when young silvery sericeous; stamens 2 .. Salix exigua var. hindsiana   [pics]

1′ Growing as individual trees or shrubs; blades lanceolate or narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate or oblong, most leaves at least 8 mm diameter, when young glabrous or finely pubescent but not sericeous

2  Flowering mostly before leaves; leaves lacking resin glands on stipules, petioles, and blades (vestigial stipules sometimes glandlike); immature capsules 3.5−5.5 mm long

3  Petioles ± cylindric; blades with sunken minor veins on upper surface; staminate flower with 2 stamens and bractlet subtending flower dark brown; bud scale caplike with fused margins .. Salix lasiolepis   [pics]

3′ Petioles channeled to midpoint and channel conspicuously hairy; blades ± smooth minor veins on upper surface; staminate flower with 3−5 stamens and bractlet subtending flower light green to light greenish yellow; bud scale free and overlapping .. Salix laevigata   [pics]

2′ Flowering with leaves or after appearance of leaves; leaves with resin glands on stipules, petioles, or blades (including conic teeth on margins); staminate flower with 3 or more stamens; immature capsules 6−9 mm long

4  Blades distinctly glaucous on lower surface; stipules persistent; staminate flowers with 3−5 stamens and nectaries dull yellow to orange-yellow; bud scale caplike with fused margins .. Salix lasiandra var. lasiandra   [pics]

4′ Blades bright green on both surfaces (never glaucous); stipules early-deciduous; staminate flowers with (4−)5−8 stamens and nectaries dark red (purple); bud scale free and overlapping .. Salix gooddingii   [pics]





Phoradendron Nutt.   MISTLETOE


1  Parasites on Platanus (Salix, Alnus, Populus); shoot internodes mostly > 40 mm long; blades mostly 5-veined, 30–75 mm long; staminate spikes 30−50 mm long, typically with 4 or 5 clusters of flowers; berries subspheric, 6–8 mm long; flowering late winter to early spring .. Phoradendron serotinum subsp. macrophyllum   [pics]

1′ Parasites on Quercus; shoot internodes 15–40 mm long, blades mostly 3-veined, 15–40 mm long; staminate spikes to 22 mm long, typically with 2 or 3 clusters of flowers; berries mostly broadly ovoid, 3–4 mm long; flowering mid-summer to late summer .. Phoradendron villosum   [pics]





Acer L.    MAPLE


1  Leaves simple, blades deeply palmately lobed and palmately veined; monoecious; inflorescences solitary, terminal, and drooping on spring shoots, with both staminate and bisexual flowers; petals present; stamens 7−9; fruitlet with wing 9−12 mm wide, seed body with long, stiff hairs .. Acer macrophyllum   [pics]

1′ Leaves pinnately compound with 3(5) leaflets, blades of leaflets coarsely toothed to shallowly lobed and ± pinnately veined; dioecious; inflorescences in lateral, pendent clusters emerging either before or with spring leaves; petals absent; stamens generally 4; fruitlet with wing 6−8 mm wide, seed body lacking stiff hairs .. Acer negundo   [pics]





Anemopsis Hooker & Arnott.   YERBA MANSA


.. Anemopsis californica   [pics]





1  Plants not clonal, in flower 30−100 cm tall; shoots with both basal and cauline leaves; pistil 1

2  Stamens 5; styles 2 .. Boykinia

2′ Stamens 10; styles 3 .. Lithophragma

1′  Plants clonal, in flower mostly 15−30 cm tall; shoots with only basal leaves; pistils 2 .. Micranthes californica   [pics]


Boykinia Nutt.


1  Blades mostly broadly ovate and evidently palmately lobed, hairy with scattered glandular hairs but not viscid; pedicels 3−5 mm long (shorter on basal flowers); petals 3.5−4.2 mm long, obviously exceeding calyx and with 1 petal longer .. Boykinia occidentalis   [pics]

1′ Blades roundish and scarcely lobed to unlobed, densely glandular-hairy and viscid; pedicels to 2 mm long; petals < 2 mm long and equal, barely exceeding calyx .. Boykinia rotundifolia   [pics]


Lithophragma Nutt.   WOODLAND STAR


1  Cauline leaves strictly alternate; blade upper surface sparsely hirsute and lower surface strigose with scattered glandular hairs; aerial bulbils absent in basal rosette; petals unequally 3-lobed to 3-toothed and claw 1−1.5 mm long; seeds essentially smooth .. Lithophragma affine   [pics]

1′ Cauline leaves opposite; blade surfaces short-glandular hairy; aerial bulbils present in basal rosette; petals unlobed and claw about 2 mm long; seeds densely spinescent .. Lithophragma cymbalaria   [pics]





1  Evergreen shrubs or small trees

2  Shoots glabrous, leaves helically alternate; blades 40−110 mm long, not inrolled, conspicuously gland-dotted; cymes axillary and 1−8-flowered in distichous (2-planed) array; corolla white with magenta spots and villous to pilose in throat; drupe purplish .. Myoporum laetum   [pics]

2′ Shoots with dense stellate scales, leaves opposite (subopposite) and often tufted; blades 12−50 mm long, partially inrolled on margins, not gland-dotted; cymes terminal and many-flowered in dense, paniclelike array; corolla cream-colored with a dense, white beard; capsule .. Buddleja saligna   [pics]

1′ Herbs

3  Plant having a well-developed basal rosette and a tall, terminal, racemelike inflorescence; corolla 5-lobed, 25−30 mm across, bright yellow; capsules spheroid, 7−10 mm wide .. Verbascum virgatum   [pics]

3′ Plant lacking a basal rosette and having instead conspicuous cauline leaves and open, terminal and axillary, dichasial cymes; corolla 2-lipped, 4.5−7 mm across, dark reddish to reddish brown or maroon; capsules ovoid, 5−6 mm wide .. Scrophularia californica   [pics]


NB.  Check in families Orobanchaceae, Phrymaceae, and Plataginaceae for other genera formerly treated in Scrophulariaceae s.l.





Ailanthus Desf.


.. Ailanthus altissima   [pics]





1  Shrubs having long shoot-short shoot organization with sharp-tipped branchlets and tufted, fleshy leaves to 6 mm long; stamens mostly 4; berries red-orange, 2-seeded .. Lycium californicum   [pics]

1′ Herbs, subshrubs, or shrubs lacking long shoot-short shoot organization, with nonfleshy, planar leaves, if spiny forming only prickles; stamens generally 5−6; fruits many-seeded

2  Corolla cymbal-shaped (rotate) to somewhat bell-shaped; stamens exposed; fruit a berry

3  Anthers dehiscent by 2 pores or short slits at tips; corolla purple, white to purplish, violet to blue, or yellow .. Solanum

3′ Anthers dehiscent lengthwise base to tip; corolla yellow

4  Leaves pinnately compound and conspicuously glandular-hairy; flowers in small axillary cymes; corolla yellow; anthers yellow and fused around style .. Lycopersicon esculentum   [pics]

4′ Leaves simple and essentially glabrous; flowers solitary at each fork; corolla yellow with set of dark spots; anthers violet and not fused around style .. Physalis philadelphica   [pics]

2′ Corolla with well-defined tube; stamens included; fruit a capsule

5  Corolla tube-throat ca. 5 mm long; capsules 2−3 mm long .. Petunia parviflora   [pics]

5′ Corolla tube-throat > 12 mm long; capsules > 4 mm long

6  Flowers in racemes or panicles; corolla to 40 mm across; capsules smooth .. Nicotiana

6′ Flowers solitary and axillary; corolla > 80 mm across; capsules spinescent .. Datura


Datura L.    JIMSON WEED


1  Annuals, 1-stemmed at base; shoots puberulent; calyx 35−45 mm long; corolla 60−80 mm long and ca. 40 mm across; capsule erect and dehiscent by 4 valves; seeds 2.7−3.3 mm long .. Datura stramonium   [pics]

1′  Perennial herbs, many-stemmed at base; shoots downy to velveteen; calyx 80−120 mm long; corolla 150−200 mm long and 120−150 mm across; capsule nodding and dehiscent by irregular valves; seeds 5−5.5 mm long .. Datura wrightii   [pics]


Nicotiana L.    TOBACCO


1  Treelike shrubs; shoots sparsely hairy to glabrous and conspicuously glaucous; flowers open day and night, lacking fragrance; corolla lemon yellow to greenish yellow, tubular with short teeth .. Nicotiana glauca   [pics]

1′ Annuals; densely glandular-hairy on all green surfaces, not glaucous; flowers open mostly during nighttime, sweetly fragrant; corolla white or sometimes with purple tinge, with well-developed limb

2  Flowering individuals mostly < 50 cm tall; corolla 13−20 mm long, spreading limb 8−10 mm across .. Nicotiana clevelandii   [pics]

2′ Flowering individuals 50−150 cm tall; corolla 25−50 mm long, spreading limb 13−40 mm across

3  Leaves sessile, not viscid, some with earlike lobes at base; calyx tube 7.5−9 mm long; stamens fused unequally to corolla tube within 10 mm of orifice .. Nicotiana quadrivalvis   [pics]

3′ Leaves petiolate, conspicuously viscid, lacking lobes at base; calyx tube 5−7 mm long; stamens fused ± equally to corolla tube > 20 mm from orifice .. Nicotiana acuminata var. multiflora   [pics]


Solanum L.    NIGHTSHADE


1  Plants with prickles; leaves with stellate hairs

2  Annuals, densely sharp-prickly; leaves 1−2-pinnately lobed; flowers yellow; berries covered by prickles .. Solanum rostratum

2′ Perennials, having prickles on at least some shoots; leaves unlobed; flowers purple, violet, or blue; berries not covered by prickles, yellow, yellow-orange, or yellow-brown

3  Shrubs; leaves mostly > 100 mm long (50−250 mm); cymes many-flowered .. Solanum lanceolatum   [pics]

3′ Perennial herbs; leaves 35−95 mm long; cymes 3−8-flowered .. Solanum elaeagnifolium   [pics]

1′ Plants without prickles

4  Shrubs or subshrubs; shoots densely covered with glandular hairs; corolla shallowly lobed, mostly 20−30 mm across, lavender to violet typically with a ring of green spots near the base .. Solanum xanti   [pics]

4′ Herbs or weakly woody perennials; shoots not densely covered with glandular hairs; corolla deeply lobed, to 20 mm across, white to pale or light purple

5  Foliage glandular-pilose; berries yellowish .. Solanum physalifolium var. nitidibaccatum

5′ Foliage with nonglandular hairs and inconspicuous glandular hairs; berries blackish purple, deep purple, or black

6  Blades villous-strigose; corolla 15−20 mm across with lobes 6.5−9 mm long; berries dull .. Solanum douglasii   [pics]

6′ Blades arching short-strigose; corolla 6−8 mm across with lobes 2−3 mm long; berries glossy .. Solanum americanum   [pics]







.. Tamarix ramosissima   [pics]





1  Perianth segments (6) fused only at base (tepals), never bluish or violet

2  Shoots 1 with 1 leaf; blade 150−500+ × 8−16 mm, keeled with angled midrib; perianth yellow with maroon (brownish) to green midstripe; each stamen with a pair of appendages at filament base .. Bloomeria crocea var. crocea   [pics]

2′ Shoots 1−3 with several leaves; blade 10−90 mm long, slender and hemi-cylindric; perianth white with light green midstripe; stamens lacking appendages .. Muilla maritima   [pics]

1′ Perianth segments (6) fused to form a tube, blue-violet to strong violet or light violet (rarely all white)

3  Flowers tightly clustered at anthesis with pedicels 1−7 mm long; fertile stamens 6, fresh anthers 2−4 mm long (2 sizes); corona of 6 lobes .. Dichelostemma capitatum subsp. capitatum   [pics]

3′ Flowers loosely clustered at anthesis with pedicels 10−70 mm long; fertile stamens 3, staminodes 3 extending above anthers and 3-toothed at tip, fresh anthers 5−6 mm long; corona absent .. Brodiaea terrestris subsp. kernensis   [pics]







.. Samolus parviflorus   [pics]





Tropaeolum L.    NASTURTIUM


.. Tropaeolum majus   [pics]





Typha L.    CATTAIL


1  Blade gradually tapered in last 150−200 mm to tip; staminate and pistillate spikes usually separated by space to 15 mm, cinnamon brown; bractlets subtending flowers usually present; pollen grains single .. Typha domingensis   [pics]

1′ Blade gradually tapered in last 50−100 mm to tip; staminate and pistillate spikes always butted without space, dark brown but pistillate spike initially green; bractlets subtending flowers absent; pollen grains in tetrads .. Typha latifolia   [pics]





1  Plants with stinging hairs; leaves opposite

2  Perennial, 100–400 cm tall; the largest leaves 100–200 mm long; inflorescences about as long as their subtending leaf; dioecious .. Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea   [pics]

2′ Annual, < 80 cm tall; the largest leaves < 70 mm long; inflorescences only as long as or even shorter than the petiole of their subtending leaf; monoecious

3  Blades serrate; stinging hairs present along lower veins of blade and on peduncle and calyx of pistillate flower .. Urtica urens   [pics]

3′ Blades crenate; stinging hairs absent on lower surface of blade at least above midblade and on inflorescences .. Hesperocnide tenella   [pics]

1′ Plants without stinging hairs; leaves alternate

4  Stems spreading or decumbent, not rooting at nodes; leaves petiolate, ca. 10 mm long; flowers clustered .. Parietaria hespera   [pics]

4′ Stems creeping, forming a mat rooting at nodes; leaves nearly sessile, ca. 4−5 mm long; flowers solitary .. Soleirolia soleirolii   [pics]


Urtica L.    NETTLE


1  Perennial, 100–400 cm tall; the largest leaves 100–200 mm long; inflorescences about as long as their subtending leaf; dioecious .. Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea   [pics]

1′ Annual, < 80 cm tall; the largest leaves < 70 mm long; inflorescences only as long as or even shorter than the petiole of their subtending leaf; monoecious .. Urtica urens   [pics]





1  Perennial herb 40−100 cm tall; basal and lower cauline leaves 30−200 mm long; calyx a collar of 15−18 reddish bumps later unfurling; corolla tube and throat 7−9 mm long, spur 4−6 mm long .. Centranthus ruber   [pics]

1′ Annual to 35 cm tall; lacking basal leaves, cauline leaves to 25 mm long; calyx absent; corolla tube and throat < 2.5 mm long, spur to 1 mm long .. Plectritis ciliosa   [pics]





1  Spikes terminal and axillary, flowers helically alternate, subopposite, or opposite decussate; calyx 5-toothed and cylindric; corolla ± radially symmetric; nutlets 4 .. Verbena

1′ Spikes axillary, flowers densely whorled, aligned in vertical rows

2  Shrubs with arching, brittle stems; spikes wider than long, flat-topped; calyx weakly 4-toothed or truncate to obscurely 2-lipped; corolla 4−5-lobed, to 14 mm long, with purple or rose-purple lobes; drupe 1-stoned, spheroid, 4−6 × 4−7 mm, purple-black .. Lantana montevidensis   [pics]

2′ Herbs; spikes length ≥ width, not flat-topped; calyx 2−4-toothed and ± compressed; corolla distinctly 2-lipped, to 3.5 mm long; nutlets 2 .. Phyla


Phyla Lour.    LIPPIA


1  Blades < 30 mm long and wider above midpoint, teeth < 5 on one side; basal bractlets of spike opposite decussate, flowers in 8 or 9 vertical rows; calyx shallowly divided .. Phyla nodiflora   [pics]

1′ Blades 30−60 mm long and typically wider below midpoint, teeth 5 or more per side; basal bractlets of spike in whorls of 5, flowers in 10−13 vertical rows; calyx deeply divided below midpoint .. Phyla lanceolata   [pics]


Verbena L.    VERVAIN


1  Blades 1−2-pinnately dissected with slender segments; inflorescence initially flat-topped, with flowers opposite decussate throughout; calyx > 6.5 mm long; corolla 11−16 mm long .. Verbena pulchella   [pics]

1′ Blades unlobed or with unequal basal lobes; inflorescence initially not flat-topped, with flowers mostly helically alternate to subopposite; calyx < 6 mm long; corolla < 7 mm long

2  Bractlets at anthesis 2.5−5 mm long increasing 2−3× in fruit and significantly > calyx; corolla 2−2.5 mm across and 4−5 mm long; growing in vernal pool .. Verbena bracteata   [pics]

2′ Bractlets at anthesis 3−3.5 mm long increasing slightly in fruit and ≤ calyx; corolla 3−4 mm across and 4.5−6.5 mm long; not growing near water .. Verbena lasiostachys var. scabrida   [pics]


NB.  Verbena scabra Vahl has been recorded from the Los Angeles River, and may be expected within range.  This species should be recognized by having a strigose calyx, and the calyx and corolla tend to be shorter than in V. lasiostachys.  Verbenas are widely cultivated in southern California, so that other species should be expected where residences or gardens are nearby. Other authorities currently treat species like Verbena pulchella with pinnately compound leaves as belonging instead to a segregate genus Glandularia J. F. Gmelin.





Viola L.    VIOLET


.. Viola pedunculata   [pics]





1  Leaves palmately compound with 5 leaflets; inflorescence a several-flowered cyme; petals ± 4 mm long and free .. Parthenocissus inserta   [pics]

1′ Leaves entire to palmately lobed; inflorescence a panicle of cymes; petals 2−2.5 mm long and fused above midpoint .. Vitis


Vitis L.    GRAPE


1  Foliage densely white-woolly; blade unlobed to shallowly 3-lobed; androdioecious; berries 3.5−7 mm diameter, blackish purple, skin separating from pulp .. Vitis girdiana   [pics]

1′ Foliage initially tomentose-woolly aging glabrescent; blade 3-, 5-, or 7-lobed; with only bisexual flowers; berries 10+ mm diameter, purplish, skin adherent to pulp .. Vitis vinifera   [pics]





Zannichellia Dumort.   HORNED-PONDWEED


.. Zannichellia palustris   [pics]





Tribulus L.    CALTROP


.. Tribulus terrestris   [pics]

The text of the above keys used with permission from

A Naturalist′s Flora of the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills, California

Barry A. Prigge and Arthur C. Gibson

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