E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Comandra umbellata var. californica (L.) Nutt. (Eastw. ex Rydb.) C.L. Hitchc.
California comandra
Santalaceae (Christmas Mistletoe family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Comandra umbellata var. californica
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Species Information

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General:
Perennial parasitic herb from widespread rhizomes; stems erect, several, clustered, simple, 5-30 cm tall.
Leaves:
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves alternate, linear-elliptic to lanceolate or widely oblanceolate, entire, short-stalked to nearly unstalked, 5-40 mm long, 1-10 mm wide, thick, fleshy, greenish to glaucous.
Flowers:
Inflorescence of terminal, compact clusters of somewhat bell-shaped; greenish to white or purple, apetalous flowers; calyces tube-shaped with 5 spreading lobes; stamens 1 mm long and hairy at the base.
Fruits:
Berry-like, dry to fleshy, blue to purple or brown, 4-9 mm long.
Notes:
Three varieties are recognized in BC. The vars. californica and umbellata may be difficult to separate.

1. Calyx lobes narrowly lanceolate, (2.5) 3-4 mm long; leaves thick and glaucous, the midnerve sometimes visible (the secondary nerves rarely visible); fruits 6-9 mm long; plants more frequent to the north................. var. pallida (A. DC.) M.E. Jones

1. Calyx lobes narrowly egg-shaped to egg-shaped, (1.5) 2-2.5 (3) mm long (if the lobes 2.5 mm or longer then the leaves usually not glaucous and without visible midnerves); fruits 4-6 mm long; plants of S BC.

2. Leaves somewhat fleshy, usually strongly glaucous, secondary veins usually not visible, the margins rarely rolled towards the underside of the leaves................... var. californica (Eastw. ex Rydb.) C.L. Hitchc.

2. Leaves thinner, usually only slightly if at all glaucous, the secondary veins usually plainly visible, the margins usually slightly rolled under towards the underside of the leaves................... var. umbellata

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry sandy or rocky slopes and shrublands in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in NE, SC and SE BC, rare on S Vancouver Island; var. californica - S to AZ and CA; var. pallida - N to YT and NT, E to MB and S to MN, TX, NM AZ, and OR; var. umbellata - N to NT, E to NF and S to ME, PA, NC, GA, MS and OK.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Comandra umbellata var. californica

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 610 705 800
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 50
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
205 204 205
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 2 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
B
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
2
Modal BEC Zone Class
BG
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(2)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Comandra umbellata subsp. californica (Eastw. ex Rydb.) Piehl

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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