lab manual


<< Lab 2 Magnoliids: Laurales (Calycanthaceae, Lauraceae); Piperales (Aristolochiaceae). Eudicots: Ranunculales (Papaveraceae, Ranunculaceae); Proteales (Platanaceae); Saxifragales (Crassulaceae, Grossulariaceae, Saxifragaceae); Vitales (Vitaceae) >>




Calycanthaceae - a family found in China and North America with only one species in California.

  • Calycanthus occidentalis "spice bush, sweet shrub"
      This shrub that is distinguished by its simple, entire, opposite, deciduous leaves that are very aromatic. At this time, the only fresh material that we have is in fruit, but look at the herbarium sheets of pressed flowering material. Later in the quarter, we will bring in fresh flowering material. When you see the fresh flowers (and you can see some of this on the herbarium specimen), note the large flowers with many free reddish tepals, many free stamens, and many free pistils. The receptacle of the flowers is large and urn-shaped, resembling a hypanthium.


Lauraceae - a large, mostly tropical family with one species in California.

  • Umbellularia californica "California bay"
      This tree, is an important component of mixed evergreen forest in California; it is often found on shady, moist, north-facing slopes in the coast ranges and Sierra Nevada foothills. The leaves are simple, entire, alternate, evergreen, and very aromatic. (How would you distinguish this species from Calycanthus occidentalis?) Be careful when smelling the crushed leaves for the first time - the strong smell is much more pungent than the bay leaves that we use for cooking (those are from another Lauraceae species Laurus nobilis). Some people develop a bad headache after smelling California bay leaves.
    The flowers of U. california are worth a careful look. The flower parts are based on the number three, as is the case in several other "dicotyledon" taxa that you will see today. The perianth is comprised of 6 greenish or yellowish tepals. The stamens are in three whorls of 3, with the inner stamens bearing orange nectary glands at their bases. The anthers dehisce by ____________ (be sure to look carefully).



Aristolochiaceae - this is a mostly tropical family with two genera in California that look quite different from one another.

  • Aristolochia californica "pipevine"
      Pipevine is the only member of the genus Aristolochia in California. The genus is well developed in the tropics where the vines climb high into the trees and bear bizarre reddish-brown and white flowers that smell like carrion. Flowers with this type of coloration and smell are often fly-pollinated or bat-pollinated.
      In California, our native pipevine is pollinated by gnats that slide down slippery hairs on the inner surface of the pipe into the lower reaches of the flower. Once there, the gnats feed on the nectar that is secreted and deposit pollen on the stigma which is receptive before the anthers have dehisced. The gnats remain in the pipe until the stamens dehisce, and as the gnats pass back out of the pipe, they pick up pollen on their way.
    Although you will be able to recognize this plant from its vine habit, distinctively shaped, soft-hairy leaves, and interesting flowers (if present), it is worth a careful look at the demonstration longitudinal section of the flower. The pipe-shaped flower is the calyx; there is no corolla. The six stamens are fused to the style of the compound pistil. The ovary of the pistil is inferior. What is the perianth symmetry? ___________

  • Asarum "wild ginger"
    There are four California species in this genus of perennial herbs. All have aromatic oils in their rhizomes that smell like ginger. The leaf shape is __________, with the leaves arising from the rhizome. The brownish flowers (Asarum caudatum) are borne under the leaves in the leaf axils. Look at the demonstration material. How many perianth parts are there? __________ There are 12 free stamens, and there is 1 compound pistil with a half-inferior ovary (Asarum).




Papaveraceae - The members of this family in California range from herbs to shrubs. All members bear flowers which have twice as many petals as sepals, however the sepals often fall off soon after the flower opens. This means that you need to count the sepal number on the flower buds.

  • Eschscholzia "poppy" (E. californica is our "California poppy")
    Have you noticed how the flowers of poppies are closed at daybreak and open as the sun gets brighter? They are very sensitive to daylight. Members of this genus are herbs, mostly with basal leaves that are highly dissected. The flowers have a cup-shaped receptacle resembling a hypanthium and 2 sepals forming a little cap; the cap is shed as the 4 white, yellow, or orange petals unfurl. Usually, there are more than 10 stamens per flower. There is one pistil. Look at the stigma lobes. Does the pistil have a style? _____ From how many carpels do you think this pistil was derived? ______ Make a cross-section of a developing fruit. How many placentae (places where ovules/seeds are attached) do you see? __________ Do the two sources of carpel information (stigma lobes vs placentation pattern) agree? ________________________

  • Dendromecon "bush poppy"
    Shrubs to small trees with alternate, simple leaves. For each flower: How many sepals are there? ______ How many petals? ______

  • Platystemon californicus "creme cups" - there is only one species in this genus.
    Herb with noticeable long hairs. The narrow leaves are basal below and opposite above. Carefully examine the demonstration material of this species. For each flower: How many sepals are there? ______ How many petals? ______ Note the lobed pistil. The carpels of the pistil are not fused tightly and they separate in fruit.

  • Dicentra "bleeding hearts", Ehrendorfia "golden eardrops" or Fumaria "fumitory"
    Herbs with basal, dissected leaves.  Look at the demonstration material. What type of floral symmetry does this species have? ___________ These genera have flowers that look very different than the other members of the Papaveraceae that we are examining today. However note the number of sepals _______ and the number of petals _______, and you will notice that the ratio of sepal number to petal number is similar to that of other genera of the family. There are many fewer stamens in the flowers of this genus (6) and one compound pistil derived from 2 carpels.


Ranunculaceae - The Ranunculaceae is an important family in California with several large genera that contain some of our most beautiful wildflowers. Although you may be overwhelmed by the diversity you will see for this family in terms of floral symmetry and corolla shape, keep in mind the following: all members of this family in California are herbs or vines with flowers that have free perianth parts and many stamens. Nearly all the members of the family have flowers with more than one pistil (the exception is Actaea). None of the members of this family has a hypanthium. (Hypanthia are found in members of the Rosaceae some of which are herbs that may resemble the Ranunculaceae.)

  • Ranunculus "buttercup"
    Herbs with alternate, simple to compound leaves that often have palmate venation. The flowers have _____________ symmetry, and the corolla is usually greenish, whitish, or yellowish. Each petal bears a little nectary at its base.

  • Delphinium "larkspur"
    Perennial herbs with alternate, simple, lobed leaves that often have palmate venation. The flowers have ______________ symmetry, and the sepals and petals are both colored - usually blue, purple, red, or yellowish. The upper sepal is shaped like a spur into which nectaries from the two uppermost petals secrete nectar. Bluish flowered species are often pollinated by bees while red flowered species are pollinated by hummingbirds.

  • Aquilegia "columbine"
    Perennial herbs with basal, trifoliolate (sometimes more than once compound) leaves. Sometimes there are a few cauline leaves as well that are palmately lobed to trifoliolate. The flowers have _______________ symmetry, and are often pendant (hang upside-down). The sepals and petals are both colored, and each petal bears a nectar spur and nectary. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds pollinate the various species of this genus.

  • Clematis "virgin's bower"
    Woody vines with opposite, 1-2 times pinnately compound leaves. Some species bear perfect flowers (both stamens and pistils present), while others are dioecious, with each plant bearing either staminate or pistillate flowers. Are both the calyx and corolla present? _____________ The fruits of this species are interesting, because they have long feathery styles attached. A single flower produces a clump of these fruits, and it looks like a hairstyle in a Dr. Seuss drawing.




  • Platanus racemosa "sycamore" - there is only one species in this family in CA.
      Monoecious, wind-pollinated trees with alternate, palmately lobed leaves and dappled, peeling, tan and brown bark. This species grows along watercourses; it was once very common in the Central Valley as part of extensive riparian woodlands that inhabited the floodplains of the valley floor. It is still common along watercourses of other areas of CA. If you want to see a non-native Platanus, look in the courtyard to the east of Robbins Hall. The staminate and pistillate inflorescences of this tree are arranged in balls. The flowers are very reduced.



Crassulaceae - Leaf succulents of seasonally dry regions of the world.

  • Dudleya / Sedella / Sedum "stonecrop". These three genera are native in CA.
    In the genus Dudleya the leaves are always arranged in a basal rosette, and the inflorescence emerges from a lower leaf axil, so that the inflorescence appears to come out from the side of the rosette. In Sedum the leaves are alternate and may be in a basal rosette or not. If the leaves are arranged in a basal rosette, the inflorescence emerges from the center of the rosette. Examine a flower of one of these genera. How many pistils are there? ____________


Grossulariaceae - Shrubs, sometimes spiny. There is only one genus.

  • Ribes "currants" (for non-spiny species) and "gooseberries" (for spiny species)
    There are numerous species of Ribes in California. Their leaves are usually palmately veined and lobed and are usually deciduous. The flowers have a well-developed hypanthium that can be brightly colored - white, yellow, red, pink or purple (sometimes green). The petals are smaller than the sepals or lacking. What is the ovary placement? ___________________


Saxifragaceae - These are mostly native perennial herbs. The basal leaves are often palmately veined. The inflorescence is often a scape. The hypanthium is usually well-developed.

  • Micranthes
    These perennial herbs have a scape/basal leaves arrangement with palmate leaf venation; the hypanthium in these plants is relatively short, however. Compare the hypanthium on this plant with that of the other genera. Examine a flower carefully and look at the pistil. Draw the shape of the ovary and styles. How many styles are there? ____ What is the ovary position? ________________ What color are the anthers? ______________

  • Heuchera "alum root"
    Again, perennial herbs with scapose inflorescences. The basal leaves are cordate to reniform with palmate venation. The many flowers are very small and have a well-developed, bell-shaped or conic hypanthium. The petals may be present (and often inconspicuous) or absent. There should be plenty of material for you to look at. Make a long-section through one of the flowers. Does the pistil resemble the pistils found on other members of the family? __________________________

  • Tellima grandiflora "fringe cups" There is one species in this genus in CA.
    This genus somewhat resembles Heuchera in having a mostly scapose inflorescence (there may be a few leaves on the axis leading to the inflorescence) and basal leaves with palmate venation. However, the hypanthium is quite large and a well-developed. The common name comes from the dissected petals which look like a fringe on the hypanthium.

  • Lithophragma "woodland star"
    This genus has flowers with very conspicuous petals coming off the hypanthium (section). The inflorescence is not truly scapose, as there are leaves along the axis leading to the inflorescence. How would you describe the arrangement of the flowers in the inflorescence? ___________________________ This material is a demo only.




  • Vitis "grape"
    Woody vines with alternate, palmately veined leaves and tendrils which are borne on the stem opposite the leaves. The flowers are very small - those of our native grapes are unisexual, while those of the cultivated grape (Vitis vinifera) are bisexual. You should be able to recognize this genus from sterile material (no flowers or fruits).


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