Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Flattened Pipewort - Eriocaulon compressum   Lamarck
Members of Eriocaulaceae:
Members of Eriocaulon with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Eriocaulales » Family Eriocaulaceae
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DistributionEssentially throughout the southern 35-40% of the Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills region -- especially within the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) belts from Craven County southward, and also the Sandhills east to Cumberland County. A few widely scattered records for the Piedmont and Mountains all are misidentified E. decangulare.

This is a Southern species, ranging from NJ south to southern FL, and west to eastern TX. There are very few records outside of the Coastal Plain.
AbundanceFairly common in the two Longleaf Pine belts/zones, but generally uncommon in the south-central Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis species favors acidic, still waters of impoundment lakes and beaver ponds, ponded depressions in pinelands, sinkhole ponds, Pond Cypress bays. It does not occur in seepage bogs, seeps, or pitcher-plant bogs.
PhenologyFlowers and fruits from April to October, though flowering mainly from late May through July. It flowers earlier than the similar E. decangulare.
IdentificationThis is one of two tall/robust pipeworts in NC, along with E. decangulare. This species has one or several flowering scapes that can reach 1-1.5 feet tall. The many basal leaves are only about 4 inches long and 1/4-inch wide, rather thin in texture. The single head atop each scape is bright white, composed of many tiny white flowers, with the head about 1/2-inch across. The rather flat-topped heads are soft and are easily compressed within your fingers when squeezed. The similar and more common E. decangulare has a very hard head of flowers; when squeezed between two fingers, the head is indeed hard and cannot be easily compressed. Both species can grow together locally, such as beaver ponds, but ordinarily do not occur together in the same habitats.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Soft-headed Pipewort
State RankS3? [S3S4]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, 17 Frog Pond, May 2002. ScotlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieFort Bragg, Johnson's Millpond, emergent from shallow water, May 2014.

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