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Allium fimbriatum in California and northern Baja California causes frequent difficulty in identification. The species, as defined by Ownbey, comprises nine varieties and is characterized by great morphologic diversity. No single character or suite of characters separates this species from others in the A. sanbornii alliance. This investigation was undertaken to survey the large number of herbarium specimens that have accumulated since Ownbey's study and to observe all of the taxa in the field or garden, something not accomplished by Ownbey. Orientation of the perianth segments, visible only in living material, along with shape and presence or absence of denticulation, is valuable in distinguishing between taxa. Characters of the ovarian crest processes, including the presence or absence and location of surface ornamentation and the degree to which the margins of the processes are denticulate or fimbriate, are also important. Based on these characters, along with habit, edaphic preference, and geographic distribution, seven species and two varieties are recognized. Of these, A. abramsii, A. denticulatum, A. diabolense, A. munzii, A. parryi, and A. sharsmithae were previously classified by Ownbey as varieties of A. fimbriatum. Chromosome numbers (all n = 7) are reported for each taxon. Line drawings of representative ovarian crests and perianth segments, a key, and distribution maps of the taxa are presented.

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© 1992 Dale W. McNeal

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