Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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

ZOSTERACEAE

EEL-GRASS FAMILY

Robert F. Thorne

Perennial, glabrous, submersed marine aquatic, rhizomed, monoecious or dioecious
Stem flat, leafy, creeping or short with wide, thick base
Leaves alternate, 2-ranked or tufted; sheath open or closed; ligule present; blade long, linear, ribbon-like, tip entire to notched
Inflorescence: spike, axillary, flattened, enclosed by membranous, leaf-like bract; flowers many, 2-rowed on 1 side of axis, each enclosed by translucent, scale-like bractlets or not
Staminate flower: perianth 0; stamen 1, anther 2-chambered; pollen thread-like, < 2 mm
Pistillate flower: perianth 0; ovary 1, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1, stigmas 2
Fruit: drupe or nutlet
Genera in family: 3 genera, ± 18 species: seacoasts, worldwide except tropical; some species source of food for marine animals, some aboriginal humans.

PHYLLOSPADIX

SURF-GRASS

Dioecious; rhizomes < 12 cm, thick, tuber-like
Stem 10–60 cm, slender to thick, flat and winged below
Leaves tufted at rhizome nodes, < 100(200) cm, 0.5–4 mm wide
Staminate inflorescence enclosed by membranous, leaf-like bract; flowers each enclosed by translucent, scale-like bractlets
Pistillate inflorescence enclosed by membranous, leaf-like bract; flowers alternating with vestigial anthers, each enclosed by translucent, scale-like bractlet
Staminate flower: anther sessile
Pistillate flower: ovary tapered to short style, style base persistent in fruit
Fruit: nutlet, 2–3 mm, beaked, base with 2 downward projecting, horn-like lobes
Species in genus: 5 species: n Pacific coast; surf zones and rocky shores, just below low tide level
Etymology: (Greek: leaf-like inflorescence)

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