Plants of Southern California: Nama pusilla and Tiquilia nuttallii

These two species are so alike in overall morphology that we had much difficulty in trying to determine the first plant of these two species that we came across in Death Valley in 2016. Even though these two species are in different genera that are sometimes placed in different families (Boraginaceae s.s. and Hydrophyllaceae), and are very distinct in their fruit, they are difficult to tell apart in photographs. This page presents pictures of the two species side by side showing some differences.

Nama pusilla

Tiquilia nuttallii

Fig. 1. Left: Nama pusilla. Right: Tiquilia nuttallii
Upper row: pictures of entire plants showing similar habits.
Middle row: pictures of leaves.
Bottom row: pictures of calyces.
All pictures taken by in Death Valley on 20 February 2016. Click on the pictures for larger unlabeled versions.

Calphotos photographs show similar differences:

In addition, it appears that Nama pusilla often has more leaves at the tips of the ultimate stem branches than does Tiquilia nuttallii, but that does not appear to always be the case.

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Copyright © 2016 by Tom Chester, Keir Morse, Kate Harper, RT Hawke, and Katie Gallagher
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 22 February 2016