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Vascular Plants of California
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Luzula divaricata

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 rhizomed, rhizome inconspicuous or not, ascending to vertical, or horizontal. Stem: cylindric, base bulb-like or not. Leaf: generally basal, cauline few; blades linear, flat or channeled, margins and sheath opening generally sparsely to densely long-soft-hairy (glabrous in L. divaricata). Inflorescence: panicles of 1--many flowers per branch, or head-like to ovoid, or umbels of dense cylindric spikes; lower bract leaf-like at base, membranous distally, bracts subtending branches, bractlets subtending flowers 1--3, margins ciliate or not, jagged to entire. Flower: perianth parts 6, pale brown to black; stamens 6; pistil chamber 1, placenta basal. Fruit: opening with 3 valves. Seed: 3, ellipsoid to broadly oblong or ovoid, ridged on 1 side, occasionally attached to placenta by tuft of hairs, generally with dull white fleshy appendage at tip.
Etymology: (Latin: a small light, shiny; Italian: firefly -- some plants sparkling with dew or hairs) Note: Measure seed length when dry, including appendage, but not hair tuft. When well-developed, fleshy seed appendage (aril, or caruncle) attracts ants to aid dispersal. As in Carex and Juncus, collections in flower or lacking carefully extracted basal parts difficult to identify accurately. Stamen, stigma, and style measurements are for fruiting plants; stigma and style lengths measured separately; gather samples with ripe capsules and mature seeds. Reports of Luzula campestris (L.) DC. in strict sense, L. congesta (Thuill.) Lej., L. glabrata (Hoppe) Desv., L. multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej. in strict sense, and L. sudetica (Willd.) Schult. in CA not supported by specimens.
eFlora Treatment Author: Jan Kirschner & Peter Zika
Reference: Zika et al. 2015 Phytotaxa 192:201--229
Luzula divaricata S. Watson
Habit: Plant (10)15--39 cm, densely cespitose, pale green, glabrous. Leaf: blade flat, tip acute to acuminate; basal leaves < 20 cm, 4--6 mm wide; cauline 2--3, 3--6 mm wide, sheath mouth glabrous. Inflorescence: +- spheric, many-flowered, loose +- panicles of umbels and corymbs, 6.5--14 cm diam, mature branches stiffly spreading at +- 90° angles; flowers 1, sessile or on stiff spreading pedicels <= 1.7 cm; lower bracts +- 1--2.5 cm, +- purple-straw-brown to +- green, << inflorescence, bracts and bractlets glabrous. Flower: perianth parts 1.6--2.6 mm, equal, pale- to red-brown, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, tips often strongly curved; anthers 0.4--0.7 mm, filaments 0.4--0.6 mm; style 0.2--0.4 mm, stigmas 0.7--1.2 mm. Fruit: ovoid-3-angled or oblong-ovoid-3-angled, > perianth, pale to dark brown, acute; valves 1.9--2.2 mm, 1--1.2 mm wide. Seed: 1--1.3 mm, 0.5--0.6 mm wide; appendage indistinct, 0.1 mm.
Ecology: Subalpine forest openings to alpine slopes; Elevation: 1900--3700 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaRH, SNH; Distribution Outside California: western Nevada. Fruiting Time: Jul--Sep Note: At maturity the +- spherical inflorescence of stiff branches is distinctive, even when pressed, compared to +- ovate inflorescences of stiffly-branched forms of L. parviflora. Luzula hitchcockii Hämet-Ahti and stiffly-branched forms of L. parviflora are the source of most reports of L. divaricata north of CA.
Synonyms: Juncoides divaricata (S. Watson) Coville; Luzula parviflora (Ehrh.) Desv. subsp. divaricata (S. Watson) Hultén; Luzula parviflora (Ehrh.) Desv. var. divaricata (S. Watson) B. Boivin
Jepson eFlora Author: Jan Kirschner & Peter Zika
Reference: Zika et al. 2015 Phytotaxa 192:201--229
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Jan Kirschner & Peter Zika 2023, Luzula divaricata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on April 20, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 20, 2024.

Luzula divaricata
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©2016 Dana York
Luzula divaricata
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©2004 Steve Matson
Luzula divaricata
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©2000 Gary A. Monroe
Luzula divaricata
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©2003 Steve Matson
Luzula divaricata
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©2016 Dana York

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Geographic subdivisions for Luzula divaricata:
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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 (fruiting time in some monocot genera).