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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

CYPERACEAE

SEDGE FAMILY

Raymond Cranfill, except as specified

Annual or perennial herb, often rhizomed, often of wet open places, generally monoecious; roots fibrous, hairy
Stem generally 3-sided
Leaves often 3-ranked; sheath generally closed; ligule generally 0; blade (0) various, parallel-veined
Inflorescence: spikelets variously clustered; flowers generally sessile in axil of flower bract
Flower small, generally wind-pollinated; perianth 0 or bristle-like; stamens generally 3, anthers attached at base, 4-chambered; ovary superior, 1-chambered, 1-ovuled, style 2–3-branched
Fruit: achene, generally 3-sided
Genera in family: ± 110 genera, 3600 species: worldwide, especially temp
Reference: [Tucker 1987 J Arnold Arbor 68:361–445]
Difficult: taxa differ in technical characters of inflorescence and fruit.

CYPERUS

NUTSEDGE, GALINGALE

Gordon C. Tucker

Annual or perennial herb, glabrous
Stems generally > 1, erect, 2–100 cm, 3-angled or round
Leaves basal; blades 0 or linear
Inflorescence: bracts 1–9, leaf-like, spreading or erect; rays < 10 cm; spikelets flat to ± cylindric; flower bracts 2-ranked, 1 per flower, 2–36 per spikelet
Flower bisexual; perianth 0; stigmas generally 3
Fruit (ob)ovoid, generally 3-angled, brown, generally not beaked
Etymology: (Greek: name for 1 sp.)
Reference: [Tucker 1983 Syst Bot Monogr 2:1–85]
Mature fruit generally needed for identification. C. unioloides R. Br. and C. virens Michx. probably only waifs in CA.

Native

C. laevigatus L.

Perennial 1–60 cm; rhizomes 1–2 mm thick, horizontal
Stems clumped or not, 1–30 mm apart
Leaf: blades generally 0(–7 cm)
Inflorescence: bracts 1–3, 1–10 cm; spikelets 1–14, 4–12 mm, elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, subcylindric, greenish white to reddish or dark brown, in open, ± ovoid heads; flower bracts 8–24 per spikelet, 1.5–2 mm, obovate to round, overlapped, lateral veins 0
Flower: stigmas 2
Fruit 1.2–1.8 mm, oblong-elliptic to ovate, lenticular, dark brown or black
Ecology: Alkaline or brackish, wet soils, hot springs, permanent pools in arroyos
Elevation: 30–1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Southwestern California, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Texas, Mexico, scattered in tropical, warm temperate worldwide
Flowering time: Jul–Dec
Horticultural information: TRY; STBL.

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