Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Slender-fruit Beaksedge - Rhynchospora leptocarpa   (Chapman ex Britton) Small
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(Chapman ex Britton) Small
DistributionSandhills only. A specimen from Tyrrell County (DUKE) needs an ID check.

Southern NC to northern FL and southeastern LA; disjunct to southern NJ.
AbundanceInfrequent to frequent. Plants often form large clumps with many stems. This is a Watch List species.
HabitatBlackwater streamheads and ecotones, usually associated with sphagnum moss.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September.
IdentificationFor decades this species was lumped within R. capitellata. However, R. leptocarpa has several distinguishing features: plants form dense clumps, stems and leaves are paler green and usually glaucescent, stems are lazy and lean over or even rest parallel to the ground (vs. erect in R. capitellata), there are 4-8 spikelet clusters (vs. 3-5), and clusters are pale tawny (vs. dark brown).
Taxonomic CommentsThis is a split from R. capitellata, and is restricted to the Coastal Plain. See Sorrie, 2000, Sida 19:139-147 for details.

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 RankS3
Global RankG3
State StatusW1
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSame data. ScotlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, streamhead off Whiskey Still Lane, Sept 2021. ScotlandPhoto_natural
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