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.



James P. Smith, Jr., except as specified

Annual to bamboo-like; roots generally fibrous
Stem generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid
Leaves alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base
Inflorescence various (of generally many spikelets)
Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1–many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally ± transparent, ± enclosed by lemma
Flower generally bisexual, minute; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose
Fruit: achene-like grain
Genera in family: 650–900 genera; ± 10,000 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials)
Reference: [Hitchcock 1951 Manual grasses US, USDA Misc Publ 200; Clayton & Renvoise 1986 Kew Bull Add Series 13]
See Glossary p. 26 for illustrations of general family characteristics. Generally wind-pollinated.



Dieter H. Wilken

Annual, perennial herb
Stems solitary to clumped, erect
Leaves cauline, glabrous to hairy; ligule ± membranous, obtuse to truncate; blade flat to inrolled
Inflorescence panicle-like, open to compact; lower branches spreading to erect
Spikelet subsessile to stalked, ± laterally compressed; glumes unequal, lower < upper, lower linear to lanceolate, 1-veined, upper obovate, 3–5-veined; florets 2–3, bisexual; lemmas membranous, rounded on back, compressed at acute to obtuse tip, weakly 5-veined, awned or not; palea < lemma
Species in genus: 4 species: North America, Caribbean
Etymology: (Greek: wedge scale, from upper glume shape)
Reference: [Erdman 1965 Iowa State J Sci 39:289–336]


S. obtusata (Michx.) Scribn.


Perennial (sometimes flowering first year)
Stem 2–8 dm
Leaf: sheath glabrous to scabrous; ligule 1–4 mm, tip jagged; blade 5–8 cm, flat
Inflorescence 4–12 cm, generally erect, compact; lower branches ± ascending
Spikelet 2–5 mm; lower glume ± 2 mm, ± linear, keel minutely scabrous, acute; upper glume 2–3 mm, widely obovate, obtuse; lemmas 2–3 mm, lower > glumes, acute to obtuse
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: UNCOMMON. Wet meadows, streambanks, ponds
Elevation: 300–2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: n High Sierra Nevada (Amador Co.), s High Sierra Nevada (Fresno Co.), ne South Coast (Santa Ana River), south-central Peninsular Ranges (Cuyamaca Mtns), White and Inyo Mountains
Distribution outside California: N.America, Caribbean
Flowering time: Apr–Jun
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for SPHENOPHOLIS%20obtusata being generated

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