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Vascular Plants of California
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Luzula spicata

Higher Taxonomy
Family: JuncaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: RUSH FAMILY
Habit: Annual, perennial herb generally from rhizomes. Stem: round or flat. Leaf: generally 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 flowers 1, 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, scale-like, green to brown or +- purple-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. Seed: 3--many, generally with white appendages on 1 or both ends.
Genera In Family: 7 genera, 440 species: temperate, arctic, and tropical mountains. Note: Flowers late spring to early fall.
eFlora Treatment Author: Peter F. Zika, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: LuzulaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose or rhizomatous, rhizome ascending or vertical. Stem: cylindric. Leaf: generally basal, cauline few; blades linear, flat or channeled, margins and sheath opening, sparsely to densely long-soft-hairy. Inflorescence: panicles of 1--few flowers per branch, or head-like and cylindric to ovoid in dense to loose clusters; lower bract leaf-like or herbaceous at base, membranous distally, bractlets 1--3, margins generally ciliate. Flower: perianth parts 6, pale brown to +- black-brown; stamens 6; pistil 1, chamber 1, placenta basal. Fruit: capsule, opening with 3 valves. Seed: 3, elliptic to ovoid, ridged on 1 side, occasionally attached to placenta by tuft of hairs, generally with +- white appendage at tip.
Species In Genus: +- 115 species: worldwide. Etymology: (Latin: light; Italian: glow worm) Note: Measure unridged side of seeds; seed length measurement not including appendage.
eFlora Treatment Author: Jan Kirschner
Luzula spicata (L.) DC.
Habit: Plant densely cespitose, 5--30 cm. Leaf: channeled; basal leaves numerous, generally to 1.5--3 mm wide; cauline acute. Inflorescence: nodding, generally +- interrupted at base, clusters dense; middle bract lance-ovate, acuminate, membranous; lower bract <= inflorescence, +- green- to brown-membranous. Flower: perianth parts generally 2.2--2.8(3.3) mm, lance-oblong, acuminate, brown; anthers (0.4)0.5--0.6(0.7) mm, +- = filaments. Fruit: valves generally 1.6--2.3 mm, < perianth. Seed: 0.9--1.1 mm, +- 0.6(0.7) mm wide; appendage 0.10--0.15 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=24.
Ecology: Alpine slopes, on wind-eroded acidic soils; Elevation: 2900--3700 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNH, Wrn, SNE (Sweetwater Mtns); Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Montana, Colorado; New York to Maine; circumpolar. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug Note: Variable, further study needed in CA-FP, GB.
Synonyms: Luzula spicata subsp. saximontana Á. Löve & D. Löve; Luzula spicata var. nova Smiley;
Jepson eFlora Author: Jan Kirschner
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Botanical illustration including Luzula spicata

botanical illustration including Luzula spicata


Citation for this treatment: Jan Kirschner 2012, Luzula spicata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2018.

Luzula spicata
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© 2004 Steve Matson
Luzula spicata
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© 2015 Steve Matson
Luzula spicata
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© 2015 Steve Matson
Luzula spicata
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© 2009 Steve Matson
Luzula spicata
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© 2010 Steve Matson
Luzula spicata
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© 2008 Steve Matson

More photos of Luzula spicata in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Luzula spicata:
SNH, Wrn, SNE (Sweetwater Mtns);
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, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.