Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Millet Beaksedge - Rhynchospora miliacea   (Lamarck) 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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Author(Lamarck) A. Gray
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain; local on the Outer Banks.

Coastal Plain, southeastern VA to southern FL and eastern TX; West Indies.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent. Tends to be sporadic in occurrence. The website editors suggest a State Rank of S3 instead of the S2? given by the NCNHP.
HabitatBlackwater swamp forests, maritime swamp forests, usually in shade.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September.
IdentificationThe stems are about 2.5 feet tall, with an open inflorescence that has a unique aspect: branches are long (3-5 cm) and slender and oriented generally horizontally. Each branch has a few to several branchlets near the tip, on which a single spikelet grows. Among our beaksedges, only R. mixta has an inflorsecence vaguely like it, but it is poorly developed by comparison. Seeds of R. mixta have a tall triangular beak (vs. squat and with a short central point in R. miliacea).
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)None
State RankS2? [S3]
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieFrancis Marion NF, streamhead with open understory, May 2021. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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