Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Harper's Fimbry - Fimbristylis perpusilla   R.M. Harper ex Small & Britton
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Fimbristylis with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
AuthorR.M. Harper ex Small & Britton
DistributionSouthern outer Coastal Plain only. The few NC records are from exposed shores of the Waccamaw River.

Mostly Coastal Plain, DE to northeastern SC, southwestern GA, and AL; disjunct inland to KY, TN. This is a globally very rare species (G2), with a small range.
AbundanceVery rare. The NCNHP database has 4 records, all from the Waccamaw River, with only one site having a sizable current population. This is a State Threatened species.
HabitatExposed sandy shores of a blackwater river in NC. In other states, can also occur in drawdown zones of depression ponds.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September, depending on water levels.
IdentificationThis is a tiny, tufted, slender, annual fimbry; the stems in NC plants are mostly just 2-4 inches tall, with 3-6 spikelets at the summit. The seeds are banana-shaped, unlike all other fimbries.
Taxonomic CommentsIn some older literature, it may have been confused with F. vahlii, an alien which also occurs in NC (historically at least). Seeds of the latter are obovoid.

Plants of the the genus Fimbristylis are very small to tall (3+ feet), with most leaves in a basal tuft, and an open, branched, terminal inflorescence. The spikelets are various shades of rufous, chestnut, or brown (due to the color of the scales) and resemble tiny pinecones. Important key characters include size, shape, and ornamentation of the achenes (seeds); see also other characters used by Weakley (2018). Godfrey & Wooten (1979) have excellent drawings and descriptions.
Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1
Global RankG2
State StatusT
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. Sorriesams data, photo of site. BrunswickPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieBrunswick County 1993, exposed shore of Waccamaw River. BrunswickPhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type