Santalaceae
Comandra umbellata

Bastard Toad-Flax

Many erect, stout stems from extensive roots can form large patches. Stems with waxy coating, branched, many leaves. Leaves alternate, sessile, thick, lance-shaped with sharply pointed tip. Flowers in cluster atop stems, each in cup-shaped calyx above small bract. Flower, with 5 petal-like, white to dirty white or pinkish sepals, with a tuft of hair at base of the anthers. Grows in dry rocky places, meadows, along roads, at mid- to subalpine elevations. Subsp. californica has oval calyx lobes, the prominent form in California and west of Cascades, but extending up Columbia Gorge. Subsp. pallida has leaves with heavy waxy coating, calyx lobes lance-shaped; found entirely east of Cascades. The 2 varieties merge where they meet.

  • Rarity: Locally Common
  • Flowering Time: Early Summer
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Height: 4--12 inches
  • Habitat: Meadow, Subalpine, Disturbed, Shrub-Steppe
  • Found In: Steens, East Gorge, N Cascades NP
  • Native: Yes