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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.


Generally perennial herb, generally erect, generally with long, scaly rhizomes; stem, leaf generally with air cavities. Stem: simple, smooth, (wiry). Leaf: generally all basal, whorled or 3-ranked; blade generally present, at least on distal sheath, smooth, or margin minute-scabrous; sheath closed, long; ligule glabrous. Inflorescence: terminal, branch stems often scabrous, main inflorescence bract like leaf blade; spikelets ovate, not ± flat, many-flowered; flower bracts spiraled, each with 1 flower in axil, ovate, 1-veined, brown to straw, dull, often fine-lined-spotted, membranous, generally ± scabrous, tip generally notched, generally with short awn. Flower: bisexual; perianth bristles ± straight, ± <= fruit, generally brown, reflexed-barbed (or with soft hairs) [(smooth)]; stamens generally 3; style 1, thread-like, base not enlarged, stigmas 2–3. Fruit: generally obovate, brown, generally smooth, mucronate; tubercle 0.
Wetlands, often emergent (or submersed).
± 77 species: temperate, subtropics, worldwide. (Greek: rush woven, from use of stems in baskets, etc.) [Smith 2002 FNANM 23:44–60]
Unabridged etymology: (Greek, schoenos, a rush, reed, and plectos, plaited, twisted, woven, in reference to the use of stems in making useful objects)

Key to Schoenoplectus

1. Stem 3-sided, at least near inflorescence, where sometimes obscure

2. Inflorescence panicle-like ..... S. californicus

2A. Inflorescence head-like or spikelet 1 ..... [S. triqueter] (2)

2A' Inflorescence panicle-like (or spikelet 1)

2B. Plant 1–4 m; stem 4–10 mm diam, blunt-3-sided throughout to cylindric proximally, obscure-3-sided near inflorescence; spikelets 25–150+; perianth bristles 2–4, soft-hairy ..... S. californicus

2B' Plant 0.5–1.5 m; stem 2–4 mm diam, 3-sided; spikelets 1–35; perianth bristles 4–6, barbed ..... [S. triqueter] (2)

2' Inflorescence head-like or spikelet 1

3. Leaf blades 0; flower bract tips not notched; fruit with many wavy transverse ridges; plant tufted, rhizomes short, inconspicuous ..... S. mucronatus

3' Leaf blades 1–6; flower bract tips notched; fruit smooth; plant mat-forming, rhizomes long, conspicuous

4. Distal leaf blade < 1.5 × sheath; flower bract tip notch 0.1–0.4 mm, awn 0.2–0.6 mm ..... S. americanus

4' Distal leaf blade (1)2–5 × sheath; flower bract tip notch (0.3)0.5–1 mm, awn 0.5–2.5 mm ..... S. pungens var. longispicatus

1' Stem cylindric

5. Stem <= 1.5 mm diam; plant to 1.5 m; flower bract tip notch 0; spikelets 1–20

6. Spikelets 1–20, spreading; fruit with sharp wavy transverse ridges; plant tufted, rhizomes short, generally not evident ..... S. saximontanus

6' Spikelets 1, erect; fruit smooth; plant mat-forming, rhizomes long, evident ..... S. subterminalis

5' Stem 2–10 mm diam; plant to 4 m; flower bract tip notch present; spikelets 3–100+

7. Flower bract awns some or all markedly contorted, 0.5–2 mm (often broken off); spikelets 3–100+, in clusters of 1–8, not all 1 on 1 plant ..... S. acutus var. occidentalis

7' Flower bract awns not or ± contorted, 0.2–1 mm; spikelets 5–200, in clusters of 1(2) or 1–4(7), all 1 on 1 plant or not

8. Fruit 3-sided, 1.8–2.2 mm; stigmas 3; spikelets in clusters of 1(2) ..... S. heterochaetus

8' Fruit 2-sided, 1.5–1.8 mm; stigmas 2(3); spikelets in clusters of 1–4(7) ..... S. tabernaemontani


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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