Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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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.



Perennial; rhizome often short, vertical
Stem round
Leaves mostly basal, reduced upward; sheath closed; margin and sheath opening generally with long, soft hairs; blades flat or channeled, veins indistinct, tips often thick
Inflorescence: head-like clusters or panicles of separate flowers; bractlets 1–3, margins often hairy
Flower: stamens 6; pistil 1, chamber 1, placenta basal
Seeds 3, plump, elliptic, often with a distinct ridge, sometimes attached to placenta by tuft of hairs
Species in genus: 80 species: worldwide, especially n hemisphere
Etymology: (Latin: light; Italian: glowworm)
When present, fleshy seed appendage (outer seed coat) adapts large seeds to ant dispersal.


L. comosa E. Mey.

Plant cespitose, 10–40 cm
Leaf: sheath opening and blade margin with long, soft, wavy hairs; blade 5–15 cm, 3–7 mm wide, tip thickened
Inflorescence umbel-like; clusters 1–6, spike-like, 5–15 mm, 5–7 mm diam, spheric to cylindric; lowest bract < to >> inflorescence; bractlets clear, margins ciliate, especially in upper 1/2
Flower: perianth segments 2–5 mm (sepals often > petals), dark brown to pale, margins wide, translucent; filaments << to > anthers
Fruit spheric, = to << perianth, greenish to dark brown
Seed 1–1.5 mm, cylindric, red-brown to brown; appendage 1/4–1/2 seed-body length
Chromosomes: 2n=12,24
Ecology: Common. Meadows, open woodlands, coniferous forests
Elevation: 50–3200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, High Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada (except Tehachapi Mountain Area), Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, Channel Islands, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, Rocky Mtns
Synonyms: vars. congesta S. Watson, macrantha S. Watson, subsessilis (Buchenau) S. Watson; L. campestris var. columbiana H. St. John
Highly variable, the intergrading and poorly defined forms often treated under L. campestris (L.) DC. or L. multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej
Horticultural information: DRN: 4, 5, 6 &SHD: 17 &IRR: 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

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