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.



Raymond Cranfill, except as specified

Annual or perennial herb, often rhizomed, often of wet open places, generally monoecious; roots fibrous, hairy
Stem generally 3-sided
Leaves often 3-ranked; sheath generally closed; ligule generally 0; blade (0) various, parallel-veined
Inflorescence: spikelets variously clustered; flowers generally sessile in axil of flower bract
Flower small, generally wind-pollinated; perianth 0 or bristle-like; stamens generally 3, anthers attached at base, 4-chambered; ovary superior, 1-chambered, 1-ovuled, style 2–3-branched
Fruit: achene, generally 3-sided
Genera in family: ± 110 genera, 3600 species: worldwide, especially temp
Reference: [Tucker 1987 J Arnold Arbor 68:361–445]
Difficult: taxa differ in technical characters of inflorescence and fruit.



Gordon C. Tucker

Annual or perennial herb, glabrous
Stems generally > 1, erect, 2–100 cm, 3-angled or round
Leaves basal; blades 0 or linear
Inflorescence: bracts 1–9, leaf-like, spreading or erect; rays < 10 cm; spikelets flat to ± cylindric; flower bracts 2-ranked, 1 per flower, 2–36 per spikelet
Flower bisexual; perianth 0; stigmas generally 3
Fruit (ob)ovoid, generally 3-angled, brown, generally not beaked
Etymology: (Greek: name for 1 sp.)
Reference: [Tucker 1983 Syst Bot Monogr 2:1–85]
Mature fruit generally needed for identification. C. unioloides R. Br. and C. virens Michx. probably only waifs in CA.


C. niger Ruiz & Pav.

Perennial 1–50 cm; rhizomes short, 1 mm thick
Inflorescence: bracts 2–3, 1–15 cm; rays 0–2, 0–5(40) mm; spikelets 3–25, 3–9 mm, linear-oblong, flat, black to (rarely light) brown, in generally dense, ovoid, head-like spikes 5–15 mm wide; flower bracts 3–9 per spikelet, 1.5–2.2 mm, ovate, light brown to black, lateral veins 0
Flower: stigmas 2
Fruit 1.2–1.4 mm, elliptic to ovoid, lenticular, brown
Ecology: Marshes, swamps, moist roadsides
Elevation: 0–1500 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada Foothills, n High Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, South Coast, Peninsular Ranges, East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: to Oklahoma, S.America
Flowering time: Jul–Nov
Horticultural information: TRY; STBL.

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