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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.



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. nevadensis S. Watson

Perennial generally 10–50 cm; rhizome creeping
Stem slender
Leaf: sheath appendages 2–3 mm, membranous; blade generally < 2 mm wide, cylindric, crosswalls complete, obvious or obscure
Inflorescence variable; lowest bract inconspicuous; clusters generally 1–4(many), < 10-flowered
Flower: perianth segments 3–3.5 mm, ± equal, dark brown; stamens 6, filaments << anthers
Fruit < to ± = perianth, oblong, shiny brown; tip abruptly beaked
Seed 0.6 mm, ± spheric, brown; appendages 0
Ecology: Common. Mtn meadows, streambanks
Elevation: 1200–3300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, High North Coast Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Wyoming
Flowering time: Jul–Aug
Synonyms: J. phaeocephalus Engelm. var. gracilis Engelm.; J. mertensianus subsp. gracilis (Engelm.) F.J. Herm
Important forage for cattle and horses.

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