The multi-access key to the Juncaceae of Victoria is a key to all 61 Juncaceae (Rush) taxa that are known to occur in Victoria, both native and introduced. It contains 18 characters to help distinguish taxa from each other with, including place of occurrence, stature and growth form, and several morphological features both vegetative and reproductive. It differs from the dichotomous keys provided in VicFlora by giving the user the flexibility to choose from one of the 18 characters provided rather than the user having to commit to investigate the particular features being questioned in the dichotomous keys. This has the benefit of:
avoiding having to answer questions relating to a feature that may not be present in the sample when being identified,
potentially being able to identify a taxon without needing to comprehend the most technical terminology and
allowing the rapid identification of taxa with distinct features rarely encountered in the family
To use the key the user selects a feature from the features in the top left Features Available panel and clicks on the state present in their specimen to be identified. Once selected this feature and state will show as being selected in the Features Chosen panel directly below the Features Available panel. To undo a selection, click on the box next to the state chosen in the Features Chosen panel to erase the tick in the box. Once a feature state is chosen all the taxa that do not possess the chosen feature state are discarded in the bottom right Entities Discarded panel and those that do possess the chosen feature state are retained in the top right Entities Remaining panel. The user continues to choose further character states present in their specimen until identification is achieved. To restart the key when finished select the restart key icon represented by the two green arrows in the top left corner of the screen.
General helpful hints
For the most effective use of this key the user is encouraged to read the help guides for each character and state before submitting an answer for that character and state. Help guides and photographs can be found by clicking on the page icons beside characters and states. This help will reduce the chance of misinterpretation of the character and state. Some information and definitions required for interpreting a state may be given under character so users are encouraged to read the help guide for the characters before the states. When taking measurements or assessing which state a character exists in for the taxon being identified a typical plant and plant part should be used. Typical is here interpreted as a close representation of the average plant in terms of size and stature in a population and a plant part that represents the average condition for that character (e.g. average length, the most frequently observed shape etc.). The characters provided concern the adult plant and consequently when using these characters the plant chosen should be reproductively mature. For some of the characters it is possible for some taxa to possess more than one character state for the character. In such cases either correct character state can be chosen. When taking measurements be precise e.g. if a capsule is 2.9 mm long enter 2.9 mm long rather than rounding up to 3 mm and entering that.
To help identify the specimen to be identified as quickly as possible the best option can be used. This option highlights which characters should be used first to discard the maximum number of taxa among the remaining taxa. To use the best option select the best icon given as a blue wand at the top of the screen. For some similar taxa such as closely related species or subspecies within a species it may become time consuming to keep using the key until one taxon remains. In such instances the user can use the dichotomous key and profiles to help distinguish between the remaining similar species.
Victoria has been divided into 16 natural regions. For this character the user determines which natural region the plant that is to be identified was found in to enter for this character. Whether a taxon is regarded as occurring in a particular natural region or not is dependent on whether the taxon has been previously documented as occurring in that natural region or not. There is a remote possible that a taxon occurs in a natural region but has not yet been documented in that natural region. In such a case the key will not recognise that taxon as occurring in that natural region which will result in a misidentification for the user. This issue may be particularly relevant to newly introduced species which may be still expanding their range through Victoria or for taxa that are undercollected for herbarium. Due to these issues we suggest that this character be one of the first characters investigated as a potential reason for misidentification.
A set of two characters that refer to the overall plants and how it grows.
This character refers to how long the individual plant lives for and includes two states.
In this state plants live for only one year.
In this state plants live for more than one year.
This character refers to the degree to which an individual plant can spread and includes two states.
Tufted, non-rhizomatous or with short rhizomes
In this state the above-ground organs of the plant are all clustered together in a tuft or are at least relatively compact and not spreading in extended lines away from a main patch or tuft.
Sward forming by long-creeping rhizome
In this state the above-ground organs of the plant are spread along long-creeping rhizomes so that the above-ground growth appears to arise in extended lines or form a turf that has no dense main circular tuft.
A set of two characters that refer to the main stem that bears the inflorescence (flower mass) and any leaves.
The height of the culm measured in centimetres from the ground level to where the inflorescence emerges.
The diameter of the culm measured in millimetres halfway along the length of the culm.
A set of three characters that refer to a photosynthetic organ of the plant. In many species the leaf does not extend beyond its sheathing base and the culm (main stem) performs the photosynthetic role of the plant.
This character refers to whether the leaf has a photosynthetic blade that noticeably extends out from its basal sheath that wraps around the culm or whether the leaf is just a sheath with a small point (mucro) at its apex.
In this state there is a leaf blade that noticeable extends out from its basal sheath that wraps around the culm.
In this state the leaf comprises a sheath that wraps around the culm with a small point (mucro) at its apex.
The width in millimetres of the leaf at its widest point. This character only applies to species with a distinct leaf blade that extends out from the basal sheath.
This character refers to whether the leaf is flattened or whether cutting across the leaf creates a circular shape when viewed end on.
Flat or channeled
In this state the leaf is flat and in a single plane or is flat but curled at the edges, sometimes with opposite edges meeting and forming a cylinder.
In this state cutting across the leaf creates a circular section of leaf tissue when viewed end on.
A set of three characters that refer to the collection of flowers (inflorescence) and the leaf-like structure (bract) at the base of the inflorescence. The inflorescence is produced at the top of the culm. The flowers are green, sometimes with brown or red tints, and are not colourful and showy as the stereotypical image of a flower portrays.
The length of the inflorescence in centimetres from the primary bract (which can be a continuation of the culm) to the highest flower.
Primary bract continuation of culm
This character refers to whether the bract that is at the base of the inflorescence continues in a straight line with the culm or whether it appears separate from the culm diverging from it at an angle.
In this state the bract that is at the base of the inflorescence continues in a straight line with the culm and so looks like a continuation of the culm.
In this state the bract that is at the base of the inflorescence appears separate from the culm and typically diverging from it at an angle.
Primary bract length
The length in centimetres of the bract that is at the base of the inflorescence from its base to the tip.
A set of five characters that refers to the part of the plant that bears the reproductive organs. These are green, sometimes with brown or red tints or white, and are not colourful and showy as the stereotypical image of a flower portrays. They are produced towards the top of the plant.
This character refers to whether there are two clear or white triangular structures immediately below the six tepals (usually with green, triangular and similar petals and sepals).
Basal bracts present
In this state there are two clear or white triangular structures immediately below the six tepals.
Basal bracts absent
In this state there is an absence of a pair of clear or white triangular structures immediately below the six tepals.
The length in millimetres of the outer series of green and triangular structures equivalent to sepals and petals from their bases to the tips. This is most precisely measured after detachment and flattening.
This character refers to how many stamens are present in each flower. Young flowers are best to use for this character as stamens may detach as flowers age.
The length in millimetres of the structure that produces the pollen at the end of the stamen. These are typically elongated oblong structures at the end of a narrow filament. In species with separate male and female flowers, use the male flowers for this character.
This character refers to whether both fertile male and female structures occur in the flowers produced by a plant or not.
In this state all flowers produced have had both fertile male and female reproductive structures.
In this state all flowers produced have the fertile reproductive structures of one sex only. Female and male flowers are produced on separate plants (dioecious) and female plants produce stamens with smaller anthers.
A set of two characters that refers to the structure that bears the seeds. This is a green or brown spherical or ovoid capsule that is surrounded by the persistent tepals at the base and splits along the sides when mature to release the seeds.
The length in millimetres along the central axis of a ripe but unopened capsule.
Seeds per capsule
The number of seeds produced in each capsule. This character distinguished between the two Juncaceae genera in Victoria, Juncus and Luzula.