Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Blunt Spikerush - Eleocharis obtusa   (Willdenow) J.A. Schultes
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(Willdenow) J.A. Schultes
DistributionThroughout the state, but rare on the Outer Banks. Our most widespread and usually commonest spikerush.

N.S. to B.C. south to FL, TX, and CA.
AbundanceCommon throughout, except rare on the Outer Banks.
HabitatA wide variety of wet and seasonally wet sites, including marshes, shores of impoundments, beaver ponds, roadside ditches, borrow pits.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-October.
IdentificationAn annual, this species grows in tufts of many stems. the stems may reach 1.5 feet tall, but normally a foot or less. Stems are generally hollow and easily compressed. The floral scales have a prominent green midrib, and the seeds are bi-convex (lenticular, 2-sided). It is indistinguishable from E. engelmannii but it has a pyramid-shaped seed beak (vs. depressed in that species).
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)None
State Rank[S5]
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, wet roadside pool, May 2015. RichmondPhoto_natural
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