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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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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. phaeocephalus Engelm.

Perennial 10–50 cm; rhizome stout, creeping
Stem flat
Leaf: bases overlapping; sheath appendages indistinct; blade flat, with edge toward stem, often > stem, 1.5–4 mm wide, crosswalls generally incomplete, tip fine-pointed
Inflorescence: lowest bract slightly > lowest cluster; clusters 1–many, few–many-flowered
Flower: perianth segments 4–5 mm, ± equal, widely lanceolate, dark brown; stamens 6, filaments << conspicuous anthers; stigmas long-exserted
Fruit < to = perianth; beak long-tapered
Seed 0.6 mm, ovoid
Ecology: Moist places
Elevation: < 2200 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, n High Sierra Nevada, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast, n Channel Islands, San Bernardino Mountains, Peninsular Ranges.


var. phaeocephalus

Stems separated along rhizome
Inflorescence: clusters 1–10, 10–15 mm wide, many-flowered
Ecology: Coastal meadows and borders of marshes
Elevation: generally < 100 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, n Channel Islands
Horticultural information: IRR: 4, 5, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; INV, also STBL.

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