Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Machaerocarpus californicus (Torn ex Benth.) Small
- Family: Water-plantain (Alismataceae)
- Flowering: April-September
- Field Marks: This species is readily recognized by its flowers which have 3 fringed, white petals with a yellow blotch near the base. This species also has elliptic to lanceolate, toothless leaves on long stalks.
- Habitat: Vernal pools, along streams, in mud flats.
- Habit: Perennial herb with short, fleshy rhizomes.
- Stems: Only the flower-bearing stem present above ground, up to 1 1/2 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: All basal, elliptic to lanceolate, up to 3 1/2 inches long, up to 1 3/4 inches wide, tapering to the tip, rounded or tapering to the base, smooth, without teeth; stalks very long.
- Flowers: Several borne in whorls on a leafless stem, with the whorls arranged in a panicle; each whorl of flowers subtended by broadly lanceolate to ovate, greenish bracts.
- Sepals: 3, green, free from each other, about 1/6 inch long, smooth.
- Petals: 3, white with a yellow blotch near the base, toothed or with a fringe along the edges, nearly round, 1/3-1/2 inch across.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: 6-15 in a single whorl, the ovaries superior.
- Fruits: 6-15 achenes spreading in a single whorl, each achene 1/6-1/2 inch long, with a short stout beak on one side.
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