Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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

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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. spicata (L.) DC.

Plant densely cespitose, 3–33 cm
Stem: bases thick, extending several cm into soil, reddish
Leaf: sheath opening densely hairy; blade erect, 2–15 cm, 1–4 mm wide, linear, channeled, tip not thickened
Inflorescence: panicle of dense, nodding, spike-like clusters, each 1–25 mm, often interrupted by 10–70 mm; lowest bract generally > inflorescence; bracts and bractlets = to > flowers, clear, margin hairy, tip narrow and extended
Flower: perianth segments 2–2.5 mm (sepals > petals), bristle-pointed, brown with clear margins or very pale throughout
Fruit generally < perianth, round with ± acute tip, pale to dark brown
Seed 1 mm, brown; appendage 0.2 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=24
Ecology: Alpine slopes, subalpine forests
Elevation: 2900–3700 m.
Bioregional distribution: High Sierra Nevada, Warner Mountains, East of Sierra Nevada (Sweetwater Mtns)
Distribution outside California: circumpolar, to Alaska, high mtns of N.America, Eurasia
Flowering time: Jul–Aug
Synonyms: var. nova Smiley; subsp. saximontana Á. Löve & D. Löve

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