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Robert F. Thorne, Robert R. Haynes, C. Barre Hellquist & Gordon Leppig

Perennial herb (annual), submersed marine aquatic, rhizomed, glabrous; monoecious or dioecious. Stem: flat, leafy, creeping or short with wide, thick base. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked or tufted, < 2 m; sheath open or closed; blade linear, ribbon-like, tip entire to notched; stipules 0. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal spike, of limited distribution on plant, ± flat, enclosed by membranous, leaf-like bract in flower, also in fruit or not; flowers many, 2-rowed on 1 side of axis, each embedded in axis, enclosed by translucent, scale-like bract or not; peduncle not elongating. Staminate flower: perianth 0; stamen 1, anther generally sessile, 2-chambered; pollen thread-like, < 2 mm. Pistillate flower: perianth 0; ovary 1, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1, stigmas 2. Fruit: ± achene.
3 genera, ± 18 species: seacoasts, worldwide; some species, especially Zostera marina, source of food for marine animals, some aboriginal humans. [Haynes 2000 FNANM 22:90–94] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Zosteraceae

Rhizomes < 12 cm. Stem: 10–60 cm, slender to thick, below flat, winged. Leaf: 0.2–1 m, 0.5–6 mm wide. Inflorescence: enclosed by subtending, membranous, sheathing, leaf-like bract in youth, exserted from it in age; flowers each enclosed by translucent, scale-like bract; pistillate flowers alternate flowers with vestigial anthers. Pistillate flower: ovary tapered to short style.
5 species: northern Pacific coasts. (Greek: leaf-like inflorescence) Island distributions of California species need study.

Key to Phyllospadix

P. torreyi S. Watson
Pistillate flower: bract narrowed at base. Fruit: ± 2–3 mm.
Surf zones, rocky shores, intertidal, subtidal; 0–15 m below mean low tide. North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, Channel Islands; to British Columbia, Baja California. May–Nov [Online Interchange]

Previous taxon: Phyllospadix scouleri
Next taxon: Zostera


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Phyllospadix, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Phyllospadix torreyi Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.