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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Fluvellins  (Kickxia elatine (sharppoint fluvellin) Kickxia spuria (female fluvellin))

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Life stages of Fluvellins mature plant young plant seedlings seeds flower

Sharppoint fluvellin and a similar but uncommon plant, female fluvellin, are branched, mat-forming annual broadleaf plants. Both are found throughout much of California to an elevation of 3300 feet (1000 m), except for the Great Basin, deserts, and in the case of sharppoint, the southern and central Sierra Nevada. Sharppoint fluvellin is more frequently found in the Sacramento Valley and westernmost counties than in the other areas and inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed areas. In Southern California it is primarily found as an orchard weed. Female fluvellin sporadically inhabits open, disturbed areas. These plants prefer moist, sandy soils.


Roadsides, landscaped areas, orchards, gardens, crop fields, riparian areas, mudflats, and other disturbed sites.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are gray green and egg shaped. The first true leaves are egg shaped with smooth edges.

Mature plant

Plants branch at the base and have a matlike growth form. Stems are usually prostrate or prostrate with erect tips. Sharppoint fluvellin leaves are alternate to one another along the stem, and sometimes opposite to one another near the base of the plant. While lower leaves are egg to slightly heart shaped, some upper leaves may be arrow shaped with basal lobes that flare outward. Leaves are covered with soft hairs and some glandular hairs. Female fluvellin leaves are all egg shaped without flared lobes at the base. In California, female fluvellin is more densely covered with glandular hairs and has fewer nonglandular hairs than sharppoint fluvellin.


Sharppoint fluvellin flowers bloom from June through September. Long slender stalks extend from where the leaves meet the stem and bear single 1/3 to 1-1/5 inch (7.5–13 mm) flowers with two lips; the upper lip is violet and the lower, yellow.


Fruits consist of very small spherical capsules, less than 1/5 of an inch (5 mm) with a smooth surface.


When ripe, seed capsules open to release tiny, less than 1/17 of an inch (.06 mm), oval, brown seeds with a honeycomb-like textured surface.

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