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Eleocharis ovata

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CyperaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, often rhizomed or stoloned, often of wet open places; roots fibrous; monoecious, dioecious, or flowers bisexual. Stem: generally 3-sided, generally solid. Leaf: generally 3-ranked; base sheathing, sheath generally closed, ligule generally 0; blade (0 or) linear, parallel-veined. Inflorescence: spikelets generally arranged in head-, spike-, raceme-, or panicle-like inflorescences; flower generally sessile in axil of flower bract, enclosed in a sac-like structure (perigynium) or generally not. Flower: unisexual or bisexual, small, generally wind-pollinated; perianth 0 or generally bristle like; stamens generally 3, anthers attached at base, 4 chambered; ovary superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 2--3-branched. Fruit: achene, 2--3 sided.
Genera In Family: +- 100 genera, 5000 species: especially temperate. Note: Difficult; taxa differ in technical characters of inflorescence, fruit. In Carex and Kobresia, what appear to be individual pistillate flowers in fact are highly reduced inflorescences (whether or not the same applies to staminate flowers is still under debate). In some other works (e.g., FNANM) these are called spikelets, and they are treated as being arranged in spikes. Here and in TJM (1993), what appear to be individual pistillate flowers are called pistillate flowers in Carex (and they are treated as being arranged in spikelets), but spikelets in Kobresia (and they are treated as being arranged into spikes). Though internally inconsistent, the approach here is consistent with traditional usage, and reflects a preference for character states that may be determined in the field. Molecular, morphological, and embryological evidence indicates that Eriophorum crinigerum is to be segregated to a new genus, as Calliscirpus criniger (A. Gray) C.N. Gilmour et al., along with a second, newly described species, Calliscirpus brachythrix C.N. Gilmour et al. (Gilmour et al. 2013); key to genera modified by Peter W. Ball to include Calliscirpus.
eFlora Treatment Author: S. Galen Smith, except as noted
Scientific Editor: S. Galen Smith, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: EleocharisView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SPIKERUSH
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, generally forming mats, glabrous, internal air cavities evident; caudex generally 0; rhizomes generally evident, long, scaly, bulb or tuber at tip generally 0. Stem: simple, generally erect, smooth, generally not hollow; tip generally not rooting. Leaf: 2, basal, blades 0 or tooth-like, <= 1 mm. Inflorescence: inflorescence bracts 0; spikelet terminal, 1, generally ovate, not +- flat [(+- flat)], generally not forming plantlets, flowers 3--100+; flower bracts spiraled [(2-ranked)], each with 1 flower in axil, generally ovate, generally brown, generally membranous, smooth, tip generally acute to obtuse, notch 0; basal flower bract generally encircling stem, generally < 1/2 spikelet, flower generally 0. Flower: bisexual; perianth parts reduced to bristles, 0--8, generally +- <= fruit, barbs generally recurved; stamens generally 3; style 1, thread-like, base enlarged, generally persistent on fruit as tubercle. Fruit: generally obovate, generally brown; tubercle (0 or) generally distinct, generally pyramidal.
Species In Genus: +- 200 species: tropics to boreal. Etymology: (Greek heleios, dwelling in a marsh, and Charis, grace) Note: Eleocharis lanceolata Fernald, Eleocharis equisetoides Torr. not in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: S. Galen Smith

Eleocharis ovata (Roth) Roem. & Schult.
Habit: Annual 2--35 cm, tufted; rhizome 0. Stem: 0.3--1 mm diam, cylindric. Leaf: distal sheath firm, persistent, tip obtuse to acute, with tooth-like projection to 0.2 mm. Inflorescence: spikelet 2--8 mm, 2--4 mm wide; flower bracts 25--100+, 1.5--2.5 mm. Flower: anthers 0.3--0.6 mm; stigmas 2--3. Fruit: 0.7--1 mm, 0.6--0.9 mm wide, 2--3-sided, smooth, tip rounded; tubercle 3/5 to as high as wide, 1/2--3/4 as wide as fruit, flat, adherent to fruit; perianth bristles (0 or) 5--7, exceeding tubercle. Chromosomes: 2n=10.
Ecology: Rare in California. Fresh drying soil (sand) of lake shores; Elevation: < 2000 m. Bioregional Distribution: CCo, SNE; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, Alberta; Minnesota to Newfoundland, North Carolina, Oklahoma; Europe. Flowering Time: Summer--fall Note: See note under Eleocharis engelmannii.
Synonyms: Scirpus ovatus Roth; Eleocharis obtusa (Willd.) Schult. var. ovata (Roth) Drapalik & Mohlenbr.; Eleocharis ovata var. heuseri (Uechtr.) Garcke [R. Uechtr. may be correct instead of Uechtr.]
Unabridged Note: New to California, known from only 2 or 3 localities, based on specimens identified by author since publication of treatment in FNANM (2002): CCo, Santa Cruz Co., Watsonville, Pinto Lake, V.F. Hesse, 16 Oct. 1958 (UC1114821) and 6 Nov. 1958 (JEPS23207, UC1115568); SNE, Mono Co., Near Bridgeport, 7400 ft, Barbara Ertter 7923 (UC1561242); northern SNH, Placer Co., reservoir western of Emigrant Gap, 12 Aug 1917, A.A. Heller 12874 (UCD49595), identity still to be determined.
eFlora Treatment Author: S. Galen Smith
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Citation for this treatment: S. Galen Smith 2017. Eleocharis ovata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2017.

Geographic subdivisions for Eleocharis ovata:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.