Herbs, perennial, cespitose, rhizomatous. Culms trigonous, (20-)30-120 cm × 1.4-3.5 mm, glabrous or occasionally with scattered prickles on distal angles. Leaves 2-4(-6), inversely W-shaped, 10-60(-70) cm × (2-)4-13 mm, margins and midribs scabridulous or glabrous. Inflorescences: spikes (1-)3-6, narrowly cylindric, 1-4(-6) cm × 5-11 mm; rays 0 or 3-6, 2-23 cm; bracts 5-8, ascending at ± 45°, inversely W-shaped, (4-) 14-40(-46) cm × 1-12 mm; rachilla deciduous, wings persistent, 0.3-0.5 mm wide. Spikelets 35-100, oblong-ellipsoid, ± terete, elliptic in cross section, 3-7 × (0.9-) 1.3-2 mm; distal spikelets spreading or ascending; floral scales persistent, 1-2(-5), appressed, becoming clear at maturity, laterally brownish to reddish brown, medially greenish, laterally 3-5-ribbed, medially 3-ribbed, often erose at maturity, ovate to elliptic, 2.2-3.2 × 1.5-2.1 mm, apex obtuse. Flowers: anthers 0.6-0.8 mm; styles 0.4-0.8 mm; stigmas 1.2-2.2 mm. Achenes brown to reddish brown, sessile, broadly ellipsoid, slightly dorsiventrally flattened, 1.5-1.8 × 0.7-0.9(-1) mm, apex obtuse, apiculate, surfaces papillose to puncticulate.
Fruiting summer-fall (Jun-Nov). Clearings in montane forests, canyons; 500-1500 m; Ariz.; Mexico; Central America; South America.
Cyperus mutisii is recognized by its cylindric spikes borne digitately at the ends of the rays and its short, plump spikelets. As spikelets mature, the floral scales, having erose margins contrasting with the brownish sides, beome useful distinguishing features.
Tucker 1994, FNA 2002, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: Mutis' flatsedge Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Rhizomatous tufted perennial with rhizomes 1-3 cm long, about 1 cm in diameter, with fibrous brownish scales, stems 30-120 cm tall, 1.5-3.5 mm in diameter, three sided, smooth or occasionally with scattered prickles on angles near tips. Vegetative: Leaves 2-4, 10-60 cm long, 4-13 mm wide, inversely w-shaped, margins, keel, and margins scabrous. Inflorescence: Subtending bracts 5-8, 14-40 cm long, 1-12 mm wide, inversely w-shaped, margins and nerves rough to the touch, rays 3-6, 2-23 cm, spikes 3-6, borne digitately at ends of rays, 1-4 cm long, terminal spike longer than others, 5-11 mm wide, narrowly cylindric, 2-10 times longer than wide, rachis 8-40 mm long; spikelets 35-100, 3-7 mm long, 1.3-2 mm wide, oblong-ellipsoid, subterete, 1-2 persistent scales, 2-3 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, ovate to elliptic, brownish to reddish brown; achenes 1.5-2 mm long, about 1 mm wide, three sided, broadly ellipsoid, obtuse to apiculate apex, base sessile, faces flat to concave, the surface papillose, brown to reddish brown. Ecology: Found in sandy to rocky soils, often in moist sites along creek bottoms, along cliff ledges, in and around seeps and springs from 4,000-7,000 ft (1219-2134 m); flowers June-November. Notes: Recognizable by its long, cylindric spikes that are borne digitately at the ends of the rays and the short plump spikelets. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Cyperus is from the Greek word meaning sedge, while mutisii is named for Jose Celestino Bruno Mutis (1732-1808) a Spanish physician and botanist and early disciple of Linnaeus. Synonyms: Cyperus asper, Cyperus mutisii var. asper, Cyperus pringlei, Mariscus mutisii Editor: SBuckley, 2010