Lyrocarpa coulterii (ICoulter's Lyrepod) is occasionally seen in rocky outcrops and desert canyons of San Diego County and adjacent Baja California, often found growing among clumps of other shrubs. It produces small seed pods (silicles) with the general shape of a lyre, a small, stringed, harp-like instrument used by ancient Greeks to accompany singers and reciters.

Lyrocarpa coulteri, which is known from Pima and Yuma counties in Arizona and Imperial and San Diego counties in California, is extremely variable in nearly every aspect. The leaves range from relatively large, thin, and sparsely pubescent to smaller, thicker, and almost canescent; their shapes and margins are highly variable also. The flowers are strongly scented at night and appear to be moth-pollinated; their color varies a great deal. Fruit shape and size depend on the original number of ovules and how many of them mature into seeds, and one sometimes finds on the same plant fruits ranging from broadly obcordate to panduriform. Finally, the plants occupy a wide array of habitats; they can be tall, slender, and broad- and thin-leaved when grown in the shade of larger shrubs, whereas those growing in direct sunlight can be shorter, stout, and small- and thick-leaved.

It flowers from late Sep-mid Apr. Gravelly or rocky slopes, desert washes, dry streambeds, sandy plains, shady ravines, granitic hills, mesa slopes, thorn scrub, stony ridges, gravelly arroyo beds, in open sun or under shrubs; 0-1300 m; Ariz., Calif.; nw Mexico (Baja California, Sonora).


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