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

Comandra umbellata (L.) Nutt.
bastard toadflax (bastard toad-flax (var. umbellata); California comandra (var. californica); pale comandra (var. pallida))
Santalaceae (Christmas Mistletoe family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #70298)

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Distribution of Comandra umbellata
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Species Information

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PDSAN02011
PDSAN02012


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

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) 225 788 1990
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 170
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
2 195 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
393
Modal BEC Zone Class
BG
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(169), BWBS(1), ESSF(3), IDF(131), MS(15), PP(58)

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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References