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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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



Janice Coffey Swab

Annual, perennial herb, generally from rhizomes
Stem round or flat
Leaves generally mostly basal; sheath margins fused, or overlapping and generally with 2 ear-like extensions at blade junction; blade round, flat, or vestigial, glabrous or margin hairy
Inflorescence: head-like clusters or single flowers, variously arranged; bracts subtending inflorescence 2, generally leaf-like; bracts subtending inflorescence branches 1–2, reduced; bractlets subtending flowers generally 1–2, generally translucent
Flower generally bisexual, radial; sepals and petals similar, persistent, green to brown or purplish black; stamens generally 3 or 6, anthers linear, persistent; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers generally 1 or 3, placentas 1 and basal or 3 and axile or parietal, stigmas generally > style
Fruit: capsule, loculicidal
Seeds 3–many, often with white appendages on 1 or both ends
Genera in family: 9 genera, 325 species: temp, arctic, tropical mtns. Fls late spring to early fall.



Annual, perennial herb; rhizome (if any) generally with scale-like leaves
Stem generally cylindric or flat
Leaf: blade well developed and cylindric or flat, or reduced to small point; crosswalls often present (pull fresh blade apart lengthwise to see or slide leaf between fingers to feel); appendages often present at blade-sheath junction
Inflorescence generally terminal (appearing lateral when pushed aside by lowest inflorescence bract); bractlets 0–2
Flowers: stamens generally 3 or 6 (2 in some very small annual taxa); pistil 1, ovary chambers 1 or 3, placentas axile or parietal, stigmas generally 3(2)
Seeds many
Species in genus: 225 species: worldwide, especially n hemisphere
Etymology: (Latin: to join or bind, from use of stems)
Reference: [Ertter 1986 Mem NY Bot Gard 39:1–90]


J. bufonius L.


Annual, generally branched from base, 2–30 cm
Stem generally ± 1 mm wide
Leaves ± cauline, 1–3 per stem, 0.5–1.5 mm wide
Inflorescence: flowers 1–few in small clusters, ± throughout plant; lowest bracts leaf-like; bractlets 1–2.5 mm
Flower: perianth segments 2–7 mm (sepals generally > petals), acuminate (or petals obtuse); stamens 6, filaments < to > anthers
Fruit < perianth, oblong to obovoid; tip acute
Seed 0.3–0.6 mm, ovoid to elliptic; appendages 0 or small
Ecology: Moist (sometimes saline) open or disturbed places
Elevation: < 3200 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: ± worldwide
Detailed study of variation in North America plants needed.


var. occidentalis F.J. Herm.

Plant relatively small in all features
Inflorescence: flowers solitary at nodes
Flower: perianth 3–4 mm, petals acuminate
Fruit < petals
Ecology: Dry pools, streamsides
Elevation: < 3200 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: to Oregon, Idaho, Texas
[generally misidentified as J. sphaerocarpus Nees of Eur]

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