de Candolle

Syst. Nat. 2: 35. 1821.

Etymology: Greek Achlus, a god of night
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 3.
FNA03 P52 Podophyllum Achlys Vancouveria pg 289.jpegAchlys triphylla
Podophyllum peltatum
Vancouveria hexandra
John Myers
John Myers
John Myers

Herbs, perennial, deciduous, 2.5-5 dm, glabrous. Rhizomes extensive, branching, producing 1-few foliage leaves or flowering shoots per year. Aerial stems absent. Leaves basal, alternate, 3-foliolate; petiole long, slender. Leaf-blade orbiculate in gross outline, 20-40 cm; leaflet blades fan-shaped, entire or lobed, lateral leaflet blades strongly asymmetric, margins entire to coarsely sinuate; venation palmate. Inflorescences terminal, dense scapose-pedunculate spikes of inconspicuous flowers. Flowers 3-merous, white to cream, 6 mm or less; bracteoles absent; sepals absent; petals absent; stamens 8-10 (-13); anthers dehiscing by 2 apically hinged flaps; pollen exine striate; ovaries asymmetrically ellipsoid; placentation marginal, placenta developed only near base of ovary. Fruits follicles with transverse dehiscence, purplish red or brown, curved, furrowed. Seeds 1, brown; aril absent. x = 6.


North America, Asia (Japan)


Species 3 (2 in the flora).

Achlys is of particular interest because of its amphi-Pacific disjunction. Despite the 8000 km or more disjunction, the taxa are remarkably similar in morphology, ecology, and karyology. Japanese populations are diploid; American populations are diploid and tetraploid.

Two species are recognized in this treatment; some researchers prefer to treat them as varieties. In the Californian portion of the range, some field botanists believe the two taxa are sufficiently morphologically distinct to be called species; farther north these differences are reportedly less apparent.

Selected References



1 Central leaflet blade 4–11 cm, distal margins (1–)3–4(–8)-lobed; stamens 3–4 mm; follicles red-purple. Achlys triphylla
1 Central leaflet blade ca. 7–16 cm, distal margins (3–)6–9(–12)-lobed; stamens 3.8–6 mm; follicles brown. Achlys californica

"less" is not a number.

... more about "Achlys"
R. David Whetstone +, T.A. Atkinson +  and Daniel D. Spaulding +
de Candolle +
20 cm200 mm <br />0.2 m <br /> (40 cm400 mm <br />0.4 m <br />) +
North America +  and Asia (Japan) +
small +  and large +
Greek Achlus, a god of night +
white;cream +
inconspicuous +
6 cm60 mm <br />0.06 m <br /> (?) +
brown +  and purplish red +
axillary +  and terminal +
3-foliolate +
entire;coarsely sinuate +
1-carpellate +
basal +  and superior +
ellipsoid +
3-merous +  and 2-merous +
distinct +
extensive +
distinct +
scapose-pedunculate +
elongating +
palmate +  and pinnate +
persistent +
Berberidaceae +
deciduous +  and perennial +