Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Smooth-seeded Hairy Nutrush - Scleria bellii   LeBlond
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Scleria with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Family Cyperaceae
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain; disjunct to the lower Piedmont. So far known only from Onslow, Pender, and Granville counties (historical).

NC to FL and TX; Mex., Cuba.
AbundanceRare, and limited now to a small area of northeastern Pender and adjacent western Onslow counties -- with about 5 sites in this region. This is a State Endangered species.
HabitatWet pine savannas with calcareous influence; diabase glade (Granville County). Associated rare species at these sites include Carex lutea, Thalictrum cooleyi, and Allium species 1 (fide Weakley 2018).
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-September.
IdentificationIn the field this very rare species resembles S. pauciflora, S. ciliata, and S. elliottii. From the former, its seeds are longer (2.5-3.5 mm long vs. 2.5 mm or less long). From the latter two species, its seed surface has low, indistinct bumps (tubercles) vs. abundant, distinctly raised bumps in those two species.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species was split off from the S. ciliata complex in 2015; see JBRIT 9: 31-41.

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)Bell's Nutrush, named for C. Ritchie Bell, longtime Director of the UNC Botanical Garden, and one of the authors of the Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas (1968).
State RankS1
Global RankG2G3
State StatusE
US Status
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B.A. Sorriesame data OnslowPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieOnslow County, 2000, Sandy Run Savanna. OnslowPhoto_natural
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