Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Whip Nutrush - Scleria triglomerata   Michaux
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Scleria with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
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DistributionMostly Coastal Plain and Sandhills; widely scattered in most of the Piedmont and Mountains. The gap in the central Piedmont appear to be real -- with a bimodal distribution.

VT to southern Ont. and MN, south to southern FL and TX.
AbundanceFrequent in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills; uncommon in the Mountains and Piedmont foothills. Fairly common in the eastern edge of the Piedmont, but quite rare in the middle portions. This is clearly an S5 species, occurring over most of the state (though with collections for just half of them so far).
HabitatMoist to wet pitcher-plant seepages, pine savannas and savanna-pocosin ecotones, blackwater streamhead ecotones, montane bogs, low hardwood forests.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late May-September.
IdentificationThis is a robust nutrush, the tufted stems usually 2-3 feet tall, growing from a tough, thick, horizontal rhizome. It is very similar to S. nitida of dry-mesic uplands, but S. triglomerata has broader stems and leaves; and the leaf sheaths are smooth versus pubescent in S. nitida. It is similar to S. flaccida of maritime woodlands, but never forming colonies or patches of plants like S. flaccida does; and the base of the seed has tiny rounded bumps (vs. covered with what looks like tiny shards of glass in S. flaccida).
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts, this species included S. nitida and S. flaccida.

The genus Scleria, named as nutrushes, is a group of sedges notable for the white, often glossy, achenes (seeds) and tough, knotty, horizontal rhizomes (absent in S. verticillata, S. muehlenbergii, and S. reticularis). Stems are 1-many per plant, terminated by inflorescences of 1-several spikelets, subtended by leafy bracts. In some species there are also inflorescences produced from upper and middle stem leaf axils, these usually on long arching stalks. A dissecting scope is necessary to examine the achene for shape, ornamentation (bumps, pits, ridges), and hairs. Just as important are features of the hypogonium, upon which the achene tightly sits: present or not, how many lobes, and ornamentation (bumps, sharp points, etc.).
Other Common Name(s)Tall Nutrush
State RankS4 [S5]
Global RankG5
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US Status
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Photo Gallery
B.A. SorriePinewild, powerline off Route 211. Fruiting. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, streamhead by Scotland Lane, May 2018. Flowering.
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