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Vascular Plants of California
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Higher Taxonomy
Family: CyperaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

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(4)-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.
Habit: Annual, glabrous. Stem: +- erect, 1--20 cm. Leaf: basal, 1--3. Inflorescence: inflorescence bracts 1--3, leaf-like; spikelets in dense, spheric to cylindric spikes, 50--150, dense, spiraled, sessile; flower bracts spiraled, 100--400, (1)2 per flower (a 2nd, inner bract between flower, spikelet axis generally present), outer > inner, mucronate to awned, brown, with 1 central green, 2--10 lateral +- white veins, inner generally colorless, generally veinless. Flower: bisexual; perianth 0; stamens 1--3, anthers 0.2--0.3 mm; styles 2-branched. Fruit: 3-angled to +- flat, abruptly soft-pointed, papillate, brown.
Species In Genus: +- 35 species: North America, tropics, warm temperate. Etymology: (Greek: falling chaff, from translucent inner flower bract)
Jepson eFlora Author: Gordon C. Tucker
Reference: Tucker 2002 FNANM 23:195--197
Unabridged Reference: Goetghebeur & van den Borre 1989 Wageningen Agr Univ Pap 89:1--87
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Key to Lipocarpha

Previous taxon: Kyllinga brevifolia
Next taxon: Lipocarpha aristulata

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Citation for this treatment: Gordon C. Tucker 2012, Lipocarpha, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 09, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 09, 2021.