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Key to Eriophorum

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1 Upper stem with bladeless sheaths; inflorescence a single spikelet, not subtended by leaf-like bracts; plants cespitose, a dense tussock with many culms
1 Upper stem with leaves; inflorescence of 2 or more spikelets (these sometimes closely aggregated and appearing superficially like a single "head"; plants rhizomatous, culms arising singly or a few.
..2 Foliaceous involucral bract (subtending the head of spikelets) solitary (1), erect, appearing as a continuation of the culm, the inflorescence therefore appearing lateral.
....3 Blade of the uppermost leaf on the stem 1-4 cm long, much shorter than its sheath; stems glabrous throughout
....3 Blade of the uppermost leaf on the stem 3-25 cm long, as long as the sheath or longer; stems scabrous near the inflorescence
..2 Foliaceous involucral bracts (subtending the head of spikelets) 2 or 3, spreading, the inflorescence therefore appearing terminal.
......4 Scales (subtending the flowers) prominently 3-7-nerved, reddish-brown near the margins; spikelets in a dense cluster; perianth bristles initially white (with usually some tan coloration), becoming tawny; [rather widespread in our area]
......4 Scales (subtending the flowers) 1-nerved, greenish-black; spikelets solitary at ends of inflorescence branches; perianth bristles white; [NJ northwards]
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