Violet Draperia

Violet draperia (Draperia systyla) is the only species in the genus Draperia. Endemic to California, this member of the Borage Family (Boraginaceae) is only found in the Sierras and Northern California Mountains. Its habitat is dry, woody slopes and talus slopes below 8,000 feet.

A native perennial, violet draperia is a low, spreading plant that often covers several feet with a loose mat. The stems arise from slender, horizontal, branches of the root crown. The entire plant is covered with soft, silky hairs. The simple, opposite leaves are oval to lanceolate.

The terminal inflorescence is a cyme (branched with the upper flowers maturing before the lower flowers). The pale violet flower parts are in fives with the petals fused into a tubular shape.

The violet draperia fruits are capsules, each containing one to four ovid, angular, alveolate (honeycombed), dark brown seeds.

The genus name, Draperia, honors John William Draper (1811 – 1882), an American historian and scientist. The species designation (systyla) refers to the styles. I have no idea why, but another colloquial name for D systyla is weird flower.

In June Leonard and I discovered a rocky hillside (along Shasta Trinity National Forest Road 38N53) covered with violet draperia plants.

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2 Responses to Violet Draperia

  1. usermattw says:

    Is it at all common for a species to be the only member of its genus?

    Like

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