Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Elliott's Hairsedge - Bulbostylis coarctata   (Elliott) Fernald
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Section 5 » Family Cyperaceae
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Author(Elliott) Fernald
DistributionThroughout the southern portion of the Coastal Plain, extending westward to the Sandhills and to Anson County. In NC rare or unknown north of the Neuse River, though it does occur in southeastern VA.

Southeastern VA to south FL and east TX; central TN; Cuba.
AbundanceUncommon to locally common, in Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) habitats. Quite scarce in other habitats, perhaps explaining its absence from some counties where such places are not widespread.
HabitatXeric to dry Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass sandhills, dry pine-oak flatwoods, Carolina bay rims, clearcuts, powerlines. Definitely a non-wetland species.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationVery similar to B. ciliatifolia, but its stems are taller, achenes are smaller (0.6-0.7 mm long vs. 0.8-0.9 mm), and it occupies drier microhabitats.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly included under B. ciliatifolia as var. coarctata. Some older references lumped the two.

Hairsedges, genus Bulbostylis, are small tufted plants with skinny culms (flowering stems) and leaves; so skinny as to appear wiry or threadlike. The inflorescence is branched and open, or compact. Each spikelet is composed of several to many tiny florets. Key ID features to note include size and ornamentation of seeds and whether plants are annual or perennial.
Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3
Global RankG5T3T5 [G3G5]
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