Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sandy-field Beaksedge - Rhynchospora megalocarpa   A. Gray
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Rhynchospora with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
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AuthorA. Gray
DistributionSouthern outer Coastal Plain. Records from inland counties are misidentifications of R. grayi.

NC to southern FL and southern MS.
AbundanceAlthough rare to uncommon on the landscape, populations may contain many plants. There seem to be enough populations that the website editors suggest a State Rank of S3, and no Watch List status.
HabitatXeric old sand dunes, Turkey Oak sandhills, openings in maritime evergreen forests. Certainly not a wetland species, unlike most other beaksedges.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-September.
IdentificationThis species is virtually unmistakable, with its broad, coarse leaves, thick stems 3-5 feet tall, and large seeds (4-5 mm long). The many basal leaves look at a distance like some bulrush (Scirpus). It is so much more robust a plant than R. grayi that there should be no confusion; see that species account for distinguishing details.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Members of the genus Rhynchospora -- mainly called beaksedges but also called beakrushes -- are mostly Coastal Plain in distribution and are important members of our longleaf pine savannas, flatwoods, streamheads, depression ponds, Carolina bays, and beaver ponds. They vary from small and wiry to large and coarse. Keys concentrate on features of the achenes (seeds) and the shape and arrangement of the flower clusters (spikelets). The seeds may or not have bristles at their base; bristle number, length, and toothing are critical characters. Size and shape of the seed beaks is also critical. The drawings in Godfrey & Wooten (1979) are extremely helpful. The genus now includes Dichromena, the white-topped sedges.
Other Common Name(s)Sandhill Beaksedge
State RankS2? [S3]
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieCarolina Beach SP, xeric pineland, late Aug 2013. New HanoverPhoto_natural
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