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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 23 | Cyperaceae | Scirpus

1. Scirpus divaricatus Elliott, Sketch Bot. S. Carolina. 1: 88, plate 2, fig. 4. 1816.

Plants cespitose; rhizomes not apparent. Culms: fertile ones lax, reclining, inflorescences lopping over to (or nearly to) ground; nodes frequently with axillary bulblets. Leaves 10–18 per culm; proximal leaf sheaths green or brownish; proximal sheaths and blades with septa few, inconspicuous; blades 16–55 cm × 4–8 mm. Inflorescences terminal; rays divergent, proximal rays smooth, pedicels and distal rays scabrous, rays often bearing axillary bulblets; bases of involucral bracts green or brownish, not glutinous. Spikelets in open cymes, central spikelet of each cyme sessile, others long-pedicellate, spikelets cylindric to narrowly ovoid, 4–14 × 1–2 mm; scales light brown to reddish with broad green midribs, broadly ovate or elliptic, 1.2–1.8 mm, apex rounded to obtuse, apiculate, or sometimes short-mucronate, apiculus or mucro (if present) to 0.1 mm. Flowers: perianth bristles persistent, 6, stout, contorted, equaling or longer than achene, not projecting beyond it, with delicate, round-tipped, retrorse teeth in distal 1/2, enclosed within scales; styles 3-fid. Achenes off-white to yellowish brown, elliptic-obovate in outline, strongly trigonous with very strong angles and concave sides, 0.8–1 × 0.6–0.8 mm. 2n = 28.

Fruiting late spring–early summer (May–Jun). Lowland swamps along streams (often associated with Taxodium); 0–100 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., La., Mo., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.

The inflorescence of Scirpus divaricatus is very large and open. As in related species, the central spikelet of each cyme is sessile, and the others are long-pedicellate. The cymes often consist of only two spikelets in which the sessile, terminal spikelet may appear lateral.


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