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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 5 | Plumbaginaceae | Limonium

3. Limonium californicum (Boissier) A. Heller, Cat. N. Amer. Pl., 6. 1898.

Marsh rosemary

Statice californica Boissier in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 12: 643. 1848; Limonium californicum var. mexicanum (S. F. Blake) Munz; L. commune Gray var. californicum (Boissier) Greene; L. mexicanum   S. F. Blake

Leaves all in basal rosettes, living at anthesis, 10-30 × 1-6 cm; petiole often very narrowly winged, 0.1-12 cm, usually shorter than blade; blade spatulate to oblanceolate or obovate, 7-20 × 1-6 cm, leathery, base gradually tapered and long-decurrent, margins entire to undulate, apex obtuse or rounded, sometimes retuse, rarely cuspidate, if so, cusp less than 0.5 mm; main lateral veins strongly ascending, obscurely pinnate. Inflorescences: axes not winged, 15-60 cm × 2-5 mm, glabrous; nonflowering branches absent; spikelets moderately to densely aggregated, internodes 1-2 mm; subtending bracts 3-6 mm, apex usually acute or apiculate, surfaces and margins glabrous; flowers 1-2 per spikelet. Flowers: calyx whitish distally, with brownish ribs, obconic, ribs glabrous or pilose; tube 4-6 mm; lobes erect at maturity, triangular, ca. 1 mm; petals lavender to whitish, only slightly exceeding calyx. Utricles not seen. 2n = 18.

Flowering Jul-Dec. Coastal strand, salt marshes, sand hills, beaches, bays, alkaline flats; 0-50(-600) m; Calif., Nev., Oreg.; Mexico (Baja California).

Limonium mexicanum (or L. californicum var. mexicanum) has been distinguished on the basis of having glabrous calyces. Plants with glabrous (or nearly glabrous) calyces occur throughout the species range, from Humboldt to San Diego counties, and so the character state seems of dubious taxonomic significance. The two variants seem otherwise indistinguishable.

The sole collection seen from Nevada (Fosberg 14278, UC) was collected at the highest elevation known for the species, on dried alkaline mud flats. J. Morefield (pers. comm.) reported that it has been established in southern Nevada since at least 1898, and so may be native there. Morefield also reported a collection from the Salt River drainage, Gila County, Arizona, but I have not seen that specimen.


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