Perennial parasitic herb from widespread rhizomes; stems erect, several, clustered, simple, 5-30 cm tall.
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.
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.
Berry-like, dry to fleshy, blue to purple or brown, 4-9 mm long.
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
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|BG(169), BWBS(1), ESSF(3), IDF(131), MS(15), PP(58)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
|Scientific Name||Origin Status||Provincial Status||BC List|
(Red Blue List)
|Comandra umbellata ssp. californica||Native||S3S4||Yellow||Not Listed|
|Comandra umbellata ssp. pallida||Native||S5||Yellow||Not Listed|
|Comandra umbellata ssp. umbellata||Native||SU||Unknown||Not Listed|