(Tetracoccus dioicus )
Photo Copyright 1996 Christopher L. Christie
Description: Erect deciduous shrub up to 4.8 feet (1.5 meters) high, having slender, reddish colored young branches, with-out hairs. Leaves are narrow, opposite or 3-whorled, reversed spear-shaped, with smooth edges, and 3/4 - 1 1/8 inch (2-3cm) long. The leaf stalk is 1/16 inch (1-2mm) long. Inflorescence of the male flowers are generally racemes. Male flowers have 6-10 sepals which are pear or spear-shaped, with no petals. The flower stalks are 1/8 - 3/8 inch (3-10mm) long. The female flower has 7-13 sepals, widely pear to spear-shaped, without petals, and a flower stalk 1/4 - 5/8 inch (6-15mm) long. The fruit is a 4-celled capsule about 3/8 inch (8mm) long. The seeds are red-brown and somewhat flat, around 1/4 inch (6mm) long, and 1/4 - 3/8 inch (7-9mm) wide.
Habitat: Dry stony slopes, chaparral, coastal scrub. Elevation 528 - 3200 feet.
Flowering Period: Blooms April - May.
Status: BLM Sensitive, California Native Plant Society List 1B