Edible Sierra Nevada Plants


I have taken extreme care in providing accurate information in these keys, however, there is always the possibility of errors. Use these keys at your own discretion.

If you do not know how to use the keys find out now, here.

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A Petals and sepals lacking or reduced to bristles or scales
  B Flowers in the axils of thin, dry scales and more or less concealed by them
    C Leaf-sheaths split lengthwise on the side opposite the blade; stems mostly hollow and round; succeddive leaves usually forming an angle of 180 degrees along axis of stem - GRAMINEAE
    CC Leaf-sheaths continuous around stem or ruptured by age; stems triangular, usually solid; successive leaves mainly forming an angle of 120 degrees along axis of stem - CYPERACEAE
  BB Flowers not in the axils of thin, dry bracts or if subtended by bracts then exceeding or equaling them and not concealed
    C Plants floating or submersed
      D Flowers in spikes or heads; leaves mainly alternate
        E Inflorescence elongate; leaves mainly submersed - POTAMOGETONACEAE
        EE Inflorescence globose; leaves all floating or emersed - SPARGANIACEAE
      DD Flowers axillary and few; leaves opposite - ZANNICHELLIACEAE (Not Edible)
    CC Plants of land or shallow water; usually well emersed
      D Plant 1-3 m high; flowers ina dense elongate spike - TYPHACEAE
      DD Plant under 1 m high; flowers not as above
        E Flowers individually subtended by bracts or in dense subglobose clusters - JUNCACEAE (Not Edible)
        EE Flowers in an open bractless raceme - JUNCAGINACEAE
AA Petals present, conspicuous; sepals green or petaloid
  B Plants aquatic with more or less floating or submersed leaves and submersed stems
    C Leaves more or less linear, about 1 mm wide; rare - HYDROCHARITACEAE (Not Edible)
    CC Leaves more or less arrowhead-shaped, wider; widespread - ALISMATACEAE
  BB Plants terrestrial, often growing in moist habitats
    C Leaves lanceolate, thick, spine-tipped, 2-10 dm long; Fresno County south - AGAVACEAE
    CC Leaves various, not thick or spine-tipped
      D Flower stems leafless; inflorescence an umbel or flowers solitary and erect
        E Ovary superior; inflorescence always umbellate; herbage often with odor of onion - AMARYLLIDACEAE
        EE Ovary inferior; flowers often solitary; herbage odorless - IRIDACEAE (Not Edible)
      DD Stems mainly leafy, if not then inflorescence not umbellate; flowers rarelt solitary and erect
        E Flowers regular; ovary superior - LILIACEAE
        EE Flowers irregular; ovary inferior - ORCHIDACEAE (Not Edible)

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These keys have been made possible by the support of Norman F. Weeden and his permission to use the dichotomous keys in his book "A Sierra Nevada Flora".

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