Anemopsis californica (Nutt.) Hook. & Arn.
Family: Saururaceae
Anemopsis californica image
Max Licher  
Herbs , 8-80 cm, densely pubescent to nearly glabrous, producing stolons. Basal leaves 5-60 cm; petiole 2-40 cm; blade elliptic-oblong, 1-25 × 1-12 cm, base cordate to obtuse, apex rounded. Cauline leaves dimorphic; primary leaf 1(-2), usually bearing secondary leaves in axil; blade sessile, broadly to narrowly ovate, 1-9 × 1-4 cm, base clasping, apex rounded to acute. Secondary leaves 1-4, 2-20 cm; petiole 1-12 cm; blade elliptic-oblong, 2-10 × 1-5 cm, base cordate to rounded, apex rounded to acute. Spikes erect, fragrant, conic, 1-4 cm, subtended by bracts; bracts 4-9, white to reddish, petaloid, 5-35 × 5-15 mm. Floral bracts white, ± orbiculate, 3.5-6 mm (distinct portion), clawed, each adnate to an ovary. Capsules brown, 5-7 mm, coalescent but easily separable. Seeds brown, 1-1.5 × 0.8-1 mm, reticulate. 2 n = 22. Flowering early spring-summer. Wet, alkaline, saline, and coastal marsh areas; 0-2000 m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Kans., Nev., N.Mex., Okla., Oreg., Tex., Utah; n Mexico. Some American Indians used Anemopsis californica for a variety of medicinal purposes (D. E. Moerman 1986).

Plant: perennial herb; to 30 cm tall, glabrous or pubescent, rhizomatous, aromatic Leaves: simple, alternate, basal and cauline; basal leaves petioled, the blades 5-15 cm long, elliptic-oblong with a truncate or cordate base, the margins entire; cauline leaves sessile, and clasping, 1-3 small, petioled leaves in the axils INFLORESCENCE: terminal compact conic spikes subtended by showy white or reddish petaloid bracts Flowers: 75-150, each subtended by a white, obovate bract with a narrow claw; stamens 6-8; pistil 3(-4)-carpelled, the ovary inferior, the styles and stigmas distinct Fruit: FRUITS capsules; SEEDS 6-10 Misc: Forms large colonies in wet areas; 300-1750 m (1000-5800 ft); Apr-Oct Notes: Inflorescence in a dense, cylindric spike subtended by large, white, petallike bracts, 1-3cm long, and appearing as if it is a single flower.Ovary sunk into the rachis of the spike.Found in west and moist areas. References: Mason, Charles T., Jr. 1999. Saururaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1). Kearney & Peebles; Arizona Flora. McDougall; Seed plants of Northern Arizona. Hickman, ed.; The Jepson Manual. ASU specimans
Mason 1999, FNA 1997
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, to 30 cm tall, with rhizomes and stolons; stems simple, glabrous to pubescent and nearly leafless, usually with one node below the inflorescence. Leaves: Most leaves are in basal clusters, but the stems generally have 1 set of leaves as well (occasionally 2 sets); basal leaves are elliptic-oblong, 5-15 cm long, with a cordate base and entire margins, on petioles as long as the blades or longer; stem leaves are located at the single node on each stem, and include one sessile, clasping leaf, and 1-3 petioled leaves emerging from the axil of the sessile leaf. Flowers: Aggregated in a fragrant, showy conic spike, 1-4 cm long, at each branch tip; spikes consist of about 100 densely packed flowers with 4-9 white to reddish showy petal-like bracts, 5-35 mm long, surrounding the base of the spike, making the spike resemble a single very large flower; each individual flower in the spike is subtended by a small round white bract, 4-6 mm long; flowers lack petals and sepals. Fruits: Capsule, 5-7 mm high; containing 6-10 brown seeds, 1 mm long. Ecology: Found in wet, usually alkaline soils, along streams and in wet meadows, often growing in large colonies, from 1,000-6,000 ft (305-1829 m); flowers April-October. Distribution: s OR, CA, NV, UT, AZ, CO, NE, KS, OK, TX; south to c MEX. Notes: Distinctive especially when in flower, this species forms showy flower displays which rise from a dense groundcover of leaf clusters emerging from rhizomes. The compact conic flower spike subtended by the beautiful white to reddish bracts is very distinctive, especially when combined with the generally large colony and the wet habitat in which you'll find this species. Ethnobotany: Yerba mansa is well known for its medicinal uses, including external use on sores, burns, as disinfectant for cuts, and as a wash for sore feet and muscles; also used internally for stomach ulcers, colds, coughs, menstrual cramps, diabetes, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, and syphilis; it's been used as a laxative and an emetic; and the seeds were made into mush and eaten. Etymology: Anemopsis alludes to Anenome, a genus of similar-appearing plants in the ranunculus family (Ranunculaceae); californica means of or from California. Synonyms: Anemopsis californica var. subglabra Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017
Anemopsis californica image
Max Licher  
Anemopsis californica image
Sue Carnahan  
Anemopsis californica image
Liz Makings  
Anemopsis californica image
Max Licher  
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Sue Carnahan  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Liz Makings  
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Sue Carnahan  
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E. Makings  
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Liz Makings  
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Sue Carnahan  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Tony Frates  
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Tony Frates  
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Ana L. Reina-Guerrero  
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Ana L. Reina-Guerrero  
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Zachery Berry  
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