Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Robert F. Thorne

Perennial, glabrous, submersed marine aquatic, rhizomed, monoecious or dioecious
Stem flat, leafy, creeping or short with wide, thick base
Leaves alternate, 2-ranked or tufted; sheath open or closed; ligule present; blade long, linear, ribbon-like, tip entire to notched
Inflorescence: spike, axillary, flattened, enclosed by membranous, leaf-like bract; flowers many, 2-rowed on 1 side of axis, each enclosed by translucent, scale-like bractlets or not
Staminate flower: perianth 0; stamen 1, anther 2-chambered; pollen thread-like, < 2 mm
Pistillate flower: perianth 0; ovary 1, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1, stigmas 2
Fruit: drupe or nutlet
Genera in family: 3 genera, ± 18 species: seacoasts, worldwide except tropical; some species source of food for marine animals, some aboriginal humans.



Monoecious; rhizomes creeping, slender
Stem < 300 cm, leafy
Leaves 30–150 cm, alternate, cauline; blade with 3–7 parallel veins
Inflorescence enclosed by sheath of subtending leaf; staminate flowers alternating with pistillate flowers
Staminate flower: anther sessile
Pistillate flower: ovary tapered to short style
Fruit: nutlet, flask-like, wall translucent
Seed ± 3 mm, 1 mm diam, ± 20-ribbed or smooth, base truncate
Species in genus: 12 species: temp to cold marine waters worldwide
Etymology: (Greek: from ribbon-like leaves)
Reference: [Phillips & Echeverria 1990 Pacific Science 44:130–134]
Important food source for marine animals, some aboriginal humans.


Z. pacifica S. Watson

Leaf 12–18.5 mm wide; tip generally notched
Seed: surface smooth or faintly ridged
Ecology: Common. Subtidal waters
Elevation: 5–17 m below mean low tide.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia
Synonyms: Z. asiatica Miki

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