Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pine-barren Flatsedge - Cyperus retrorsus   Chapman
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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AuthorChapman
DistributionCoastal Plain, Piedmont, and low Mountains. Gaps in the Piedmont will likely be filled with additional collecting.

Mostly Coastal Plain and adjacent Piedmont, NY to FL and TX; inland to TN, AR, MO, OK.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont, uncommon to fairly common westward.
HabitatDry to moist sandy soils of pine savannas, flatwoods, pine-oak sandhills, oak-hickory woods, outcrops.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationThe small, dense, ovoid to roundish spikes on erect stalks are a good clue to Pine-barren Flatsedge. It is most similar to C. ovatus, but is told by spikes half the length.
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)None
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