Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Poorland Flatsedge - Cyperus compressus   L.
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Cyperus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont; a few records in the upper Piedmont and low Mountains.

In North America, NY to OH and MO, south to FL and TX.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont; very rare to rare elsewhere. Seemingly scarce in the far eastern counties. Population numbers are highly variable in size.
HabitatDisturbed soils of roadsides, driveways, yards, fields, impoundment margins, etc.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September.
IdentificationPlants of this "ruderal" sedge are annual, up to a foot tall but often much less. The spikes are generally digitate, with spikelets that are pale green or yellowish green or tinged pale brown; they are flattened in cross-section.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

The genus Cyperus is mostly tropical and warm-temperate in distribution; thus, in NC it is much commoner in the Coastal Plain than in the Mountains and Piedmont. Most species have 1-few flowering stems (culms) from grasslike basal leaves, plus a few stem leaves. At the summit is an inflorescence of very open and branched, or tightly packed, spikes, varying among species from brown to golden brown to straw-color to reddish. The arrangement of the spikelets is important, whether like a hand (digitate) or in paired rows (pinnate); as is the shape of the achene (seed), whether bi-convex in cross-section or triangular. As a group, Cyperus tends to be weedy and readily enters disturbed ground; this is true for many natives as well as all the aliens. In recent years, following DNA research, the genus has incorporated several genera that in RAB (1968) or other manuals were separate: Hemicarpha, Lipocarpha, and Kyllinga.
Other Common Name(s)Annual Sedge (a "too generic" name)
State RankS4 [S5]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFAC link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieWhispering Pines, gravel driveway, July 2016. MoorePhoto_natural
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