Monographs Details: Luzula luzulina (Vill.) Dalla Torre & Sarnth.
Authority: Ebinger, John E. 1964. Taxonomy of the Subgenus Pterodes, Genus Luzula. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 10 (5): 279-304.
Family:Juncaceae
Description:Species Description - Perennial; with stolons, to 8 (sometimes 15) cm long, 1 mm wide, with dark brown scale-like leaves and slender adventitious roots; blades of basal leaves flat, to 15 cm long, 3-6 mm wide, margins glabrous to sparsely pubescent, apex callosetipped with a mueronate projection extending from it; culms erect to slightly ascending, slender smooth, 20-30 cm tall, bearing 2-3 leaves; sheaths closed, glabrous to slightly pubescent at the throat, blades linear 2-3 m m wide, to 5 cm long, margins glabrous to sparsely pubescent, callose-tipped with a short mueronate extension; inflorescence terminal, simple (rarely a few secondary pedicels are present); pedicels 4-7, spreading to reflexed; basal bract erect, shorter than the inflorescence, leaf-like, the margins usually glabrous, usually mueronate tipped; other bracts light brown, with or without hyaline margins; inner bract at the base of each pedicel usually truncate with a hyaline tip, sometimes pubescent; outer bract usually equalling the inner, tip acuminate; bracteoles ovatelanceolate, acuminate, awned, light brown with hyaline margins, shorter than the flower; perianth segments similar, equal, lanceolate, entire, with a long slender tip, brown to stramineous, 3.5-4.5 (rarely 5.0) mm long; stamens 6 shorter than the perianth, filaments linear white, anthers linear longer than the filaments; pistil erect, ovary three angled to round, style filiform 1 mm long, stigmas erect 3 mm long; fruit exceeding the perianth, to 6.0 mm long, rostrate, apex with the persistent base of the style, light brown to stramineous; seeds dark brown to black, 1.5 mm long; caruncle erect to slightly curved, 1.0 mm long to as long as the seed.

Discussion:

Luzula luzulina (Vill.) Dalla Torre & Sarnth. Fl. Tirol 6: 426. 1906.

Juncus luzulinus Vill. Hist. PI. Dauph. 2: 235. 1787.

Juncodes luzulinum (Vill.) 0. Ktze. Eev. Gen. PI. 2: 724. 1891.

Juncus flavescens Host, Gram. Austr. 3: 62. 1805.

Luzula flavescens (Host) Gaudin, Agrost. Helv. 2: 239. 1811.

Nemorinia flavescens (Host) Fourr. Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, NS. 17: 172. 1869.

Luzula hostii Desv. Jour. Bot. Desvaux 1: 140. 1808.

Luzula hostii Desv. var. murrea Fourn. Monde PI. 205: 4. 1934.

Luzula murrea (Fourn.) Fourn. Monde PI. 212: 12. 1935.

Luzula pallescens Hoppe, Flora 2: 185. 1819.

Luzula callosa Eaf. Autikon Bot. 193. 1840.

Luzula pubescens Schrank, Flora 2: 446. 1819.

Juncus pallescens Schrank, Flora 2: 445. 1819. noni. nud.

Juncus pedatus Jacq. ex Schultes & Schultes, Syst. Veg. 7: 264. 1829 (as synonym of Luzula flavescens).

Type. In the original description no type is designated and no specimens are listed. It is described in "Histoire des Plantes de Dauphine." Dauphine is a former province of southeastern France, therefore this region is probably the type locality of this species.

Hybrids. The only natural occurring hybrid that has been reported is Luzula luzulina X L. pilosa. This hybrid was first reported by Briigger (1880) and later by Murr (1930). In the latter instance it was named L. vinesii. No hybrids were encountered during the present study. The difference in flowering time between these two taxa would tend to inhibit hybridization, as would their different ecological preference. L. luzulina is restricted to mountainous regions of Central Europe where it usually grows above an altitude of 4,000 feet while L. pilosa is a much wider ranging species generally found at lower altitudes. No other naturally occurring hybrids have been reported, but this species may occasionally hybridize with L. forsteri.

Luzula luzulina is a very distinct species that is restricted to the high mountainous regions of Central Europe (Fig. 4). The long stolons, simple inflorescence, large flowers, and capsules that exceed the perianth distinguish this taxon from the other two species that occur in this area. All specimens that were examined during this study were collected above 4,000 feet, and generally in coniferous forests or small open areas.

Before 1906 this species was referred to as Luzula flavescens since most authors were apparently unaware of the earlier name, Juncus luzidina, proposed by Villars (1787). Up to this time the floras and monographs of this genus used the name L. flavescens and many of the earlier collections still bear this name. In addition to the above, a few other names have also been proposed for this species. Desvaux (1808) named this species L. hostii because he considered Juncus flavescens to be inappropriate. H e remarks "J'ai cru devoir changer le nom de cette espece, parce qu'elle n'est pas plus jaunaire que la precedente, ni que le suivante." Three other names (L. pallescens, Juncus pallescens, and Juncus pedatus) are either nomina nuda, or were listed as synonyms of L. flavescens.

As mentioned previously, artificially produced hybrids between this species and Luzula forsteri resulted in highly fertile F1 hybrids and F2 progeny that are sometimes completely fertile. Thus these two species are very closely related, perhaps even subspecies of a single species. However, introgressive hybridization studies between these two taxa suggest that hybrids occur rarely, if ever, in nature. This results because of two peculiarities of these species. First, though the ranges of the two overlap, L. luzulina is restricted to the high mountains and alpine regions, usually above 4,000 feet, while L. forsteri grows at much lower altitudes. Secondly, there is a difference in blooming period, with L. forsteri shedding its pollen in April and early May, while L. luzulina usually does not bloom until late May and June. In the other species of the subgenus Pterodes sterility barriers have maintained the species as separate entities while between these species no sterility barrier appears to exist. In its place is a different ecological habitat and a difference in flowering time that have accomplished similar results.