Luzula acuminata Eaf. var. carolinae (S. "Wats.) Fern. Ehodora 46: 5. 1944.
Luzula carolinae S. "Wats. Proc. Am. Acad. 14: 302. 1879.
Juncoides carolinae (S. Wats.) 0. Ktze. Eev. Gen. PI. 2: 724. 1891.
This variety has a more southern distribution than variety acuminata. It is found on the coastal plains from Maryland to Georgia and west to Alabama (Fig. 1). It can be distinguished from the more northern entity (acuminata) by the numerous secondary pedicels in the inflorescence. Also, some of the primary pedicels have two or more secondary pedicels radiating from them.
Type. Gray and Carey; July, 1841; growing on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. (GH—holotype.)
Pease 11657 (GH, US), 11658 (GH) ; Grimes 3400 (GH).
Hybrids. None have been reported, and none were found during this study. Luzula acuminata is confined to the eastern United States and Canada where it is of rather sporadic occurrence. This early blooming species is usually restricted to moist woodlands but is occasionally found along roadsides and in other open areas. The breeding experiments conducted by Nordenskiold (1957) indicate that L. acuminata is more closely related to L. pilosa and L. plumosa than to any other member of the subgenus. A close morphological similarity also exists between these three taxa. There are, however, a few traits that can be used to separate them. In L. acuminata the capsule tapers gradually to a tip, the perianth segments are usually light colored and soft textured, and the plants are stoloniferous. In contrast, L. pilosa and L. plumosa have a blunt capsule, the perianth segments are usually dark colored and of a hard texture and the plants are usually strongly caespitose.
There has been a difference of opinion concerning the treatment of the Luzula acuminata complex. Some authors have treated this complex as one species, others as two species and others as varieties of one species. In most instances the two entities are recognized as varieties and both Fernald (1950) and Gleason (1952), in the two major floras of the northeastern United States, treat the species in this manner. In both cases the two varieties are separated on the basis of the number of secondary pedicels in the inflorescence. In contrast, Hermann (1946) in a checklist of the plants of the Washington-Baltimore area, and Strausbaugh and Core (1952), in their flora of West Virginia, accept the name L. acuminata but do not list variety carolinae even though it is undoubtedly found in these areas. Jones (1950) in the flora of Illinois refers to this species as L. saltuensis. B y using this name, Jones by implication also accepts L. carolinae as a valid species because the latter is the earlier binomial. It must also be inferred that he considers the name L. acuminata as being invalid since this name was published much earlier than L. saltuensis. Also, Fasset (1957) disregards the name L. acuminata but uses L. carolinae var. saltuensis for the species found in Wisconsin. These two varieties are discussed more thoroughly by Ebinger (1962b).