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Eriophorum
COTTON GRASS

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CyperaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SEDGE FAMILY
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.

Eriophorum
Habit: Perennial herb, erect. Stem: cylindric, solid. Leaf: basal and cauline; ligule present; blade +- scabrous on keel or angles. Inflorescence: 1, terminal, +- umbel-like [head-like or spikelet 1]; inflorescence bracts 1--several, leaf- or scale-like; spikelets several [1]; flower bracts spiraled, > 10, ovate, membranous, glabrous, tip entire. Flower: bisexual; perianth bristles 10--25, >> fruit, generally > flower bracts, >> flower bracts in fruit, +- straight, barbs 0; stamens 3; style 3-branched. Fruit: 3-sided, +- flat.
Species In Genus: +- 25 species: northern temperate. Etymology: (Greek: wool-bearing) Note: Eriophorum crinigerum moved to Calliscirpus (Gilmour et al. 2013); see note under family.
eFlora Treatment Author: Peter W. Ball
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Citation for this treatment: Peter W. Ball 2016. Eriophorum, Revision 2, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=8908, accessed on September 25, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on September 25, 2016.


Eriophorum gracile
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Eriophorum crinigerum
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© 2004 Steve Matson
Eriophorum scheuchzeri
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© 2015 California Academy of Sciences
Eriophorum gracile
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Eriophorum crinigerum
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© 2009 Steve Matson
Eriophorum crinigerum
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© 2004 Steve Matson

More photos of Eriophorum in CalPhotos