Flower Terminology (Part 3)

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Botany 115 Terminology

Flower Terminology Part 3

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Inflorescence Terminology Part 1
Inflorescence Terminology Part 2
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Go To Leaf Terminology Part 2

Flowers Of The Grass, Sedge & Rush Families
The Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Juncaceae

A comparison of the typical flowers of the grass family (Poaceae), sedge family (Cyperaceae) & rush family (Juncaceae). In grasses, the individual flower is referred to as a floret. In the sedge family, each flower is subtended by a scalelike bract. Since the scalelike petals and sepals of the rush family are very similar in appearance, they are referred to as tepals. The ovary of a grass develops into a one-seeded grain (caryopsis). The ovary of a sedge develops into one-seeded achene, while the ovary of a rush develops into a many-seeded capsule. Sedge and rush stems often contain spongy aerenchyma tissue with abundant air spaces. This allows air to reach the root systems which are often submersed in water-logged mud. Rush stems (Juncaceae) are generally circular in cross section, while the stems of sedges (Cyperaceae) are typically three-sided (triangular).

Photos Of A Sedge Meadow & Marshland

A lush green meadow on the western side of the Sierra Nevada dominated by many species of sedges (Carex) and rushes (Juncus). The shrubs are willows (Salix) and the conifers are mostly lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana).

Left: A coastal salt marsh in San Diego County with spiny rush (Juncus acutus ssp. leopoldii). The range of this remarkable species includes South America and South Africa. Right: An inland freshwater marsh dominated by California bulrush (Scirpus californicus). This bulrush also has an enormous range, including the southern United States and South America.

General structure of a coiled basket. Bundles of flowering stems (culms) of deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) were commonly used by the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay and other tribes for the foundation (primary coils) of the basket, around which the secondary coils were tightly wrapped. Basketbush (Rhus trilobata) was commonly used for the secondary coils, with intricate designs made from brown coils of rush culms (including Juncus acutus, J. effusus, J. lesueurii and J. textilis). Sometimes the rush culms were dyed to produce various color patterns. Other plants were also used for basketry in the American southwest, including willow (Salix), beargrass (Nolina microcarpa), yucca (Yucca elata) and devil's claws (Proboscidea parviflora).

A Native American basket from the Kumeyaay of San Diego County, California. The secondary coils are made from the rush stems (Juncus). The primary coils are probably made from culms of deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens).

15. Typical Flowers Of The Sedge Family (Cyperaceae)

Umbrella sedge (Cyperus involucratus syn. C. alternifolius), a South African perennial that is cultivated and naturalized in wet habitats of southern California. The umbrella-like invulucral leaves subtend the inflorescence of numerous small splikelets.

Economically Important Plants In The Sedge Family
  Ancient Paper Made From Stems Of Egyptian Papyrus  

16. Typical Flower Of The Rush Family (Juncaceae)

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