Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Baldwin's Spikerush - Eleocharis baldwinii   (Torrey) Chapman
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Eleocharis with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
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Author(Torrey) Chapman
DistributionSandhills and Coastal Plain, but with a gap in most of the middle Coastal Plain. The gap will likely be filled with more collecting, especially as there are records for most counties in southeastern VA (and thus ought to occur in most NC Coastal Plain counties).

Coastal Plain, VA to FL, TX, and AR.
AbundanceFrequent in the Sandhills, but uncommon to infrequent elsewhere. Usually abundant where found, as it forms patches or mats.
HabitatShores and exposed bottoms of freshwater ponds, impoundments, beaver ponds, Carolina bay lakes. Most readily found when water levels are low, exposing the bottom.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-September.
IdentificationBaldwin's Spikerush is a very small and slender plant, normally 2-6 inches tall, connected via runners and forming patches or a turf. The spikelets are narrowly ellipsoid and appear to be laterally compressed, 2-9 flowered. It may be confused in the field with E. acicularis, but that species has flowers arranged spirally (vs. distichously), and its seeds have many horizontal lines and have much smaller tubercles.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

The genus Eleocharis, the spikerushes, are unusual members of the sedge family in that the culms (flowering stems) are round or oval (rarely triangular) in cross-section, rather than triangular in the great majority of our sedges. In addition, leaf blades are absent; just 1-2 basal sheaths are present at the base of the culm. There is a single, cylindrical or narrowly ovoid, spikelet of florets at the culm summit. Details of achene (seed) shape, color, ornamentation, bristle length, and beak (tubercle) shape and size, are critical ID factors.
Other Common Name(s)Road Grass
State RankS2? [S3]
Global RankG4G5
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