Bowlesia is an easily overlooked member of the
carrot family which has decidedly un-carrotlike leaves. There are numerous species of the genus in
South America, but this is the only one native to California. It
is a delicate plant with weak, slender, trailing stems 12"-24"
in length, dichotomously branched, with the leaves generally but not
always opposite. The thin leaves are round-reniform to cordate, 3/16"
to 1-1/4" in diameter, and palmately 5-9-lobed with the segments
entire or toothed. The exceedingly tiny flowers (less than 1/16" in diameter!) are ±
sessile or on very short peduncles in the leaf axils. They are
white to yellowish-green and there are typically from 1 to 6 per plant.
Each flower has five minute petals, five even smaller calyx lobes,
and five stamens, and the fruit is a broad, somewhat flattened and ribless
ovoid. Bowlesia is found in shaded places to about 2500' in southern
oak woodland, coastal sage scrub and chaparral from Baja through cismontane
southern California, reaching the desert edge and the Channel Islands,
and blooming from March to April. These pictures were taken in
South Hills Park in Glendora.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Bowlesia 2)
Pronunciation: BOWL-zee-a in-CAY-na.
Click here for Botanical