Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Acid-swamp Yellow-eyed-grass - Xyris serotina   Chapman
Members of Xyris with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Commelinales » Family Xyridaceae
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DistributionSouthern Outer Coastal Plain. Definitely known from Columbus County: "Longleaf Pine flatwoods SE of Whiteville" in 1963, R. Kral 19035 (DUKE, FSU, NCSC). A second collection, by R. Wilbur (at DUKE), is from Myrtle Head Savanna in Brunswick County and needs a careful ID check. The website editors tentatively include this record on the map, inasmuch as the range is certainly reasonable.

Coastal Plain, NC to central FL and southern MS.
AbundanceVery rare, at best (if not historical). Known from just two sites, one confirmed by one of the website editors (Sorrie). If the Brunswick County specimen is accepted here, the rank probably moves to S1; if the Brunswick County record is removed from the map, the State Rank stays at SH (historical). Note that Weakley's (2018) map shows it as "rare" as opposed to historical for NC. The Species is considered as State Special Concern - Historical.
HabitatMoist to wet Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass savannas.
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-September.
IdentificationIn overall appearance, Acid-swamp Yellow-eyed-grass resembles Coastal-plain Yellow-eyed-grass (X. ambigua). However, leaf margins have many tiny bumps (tubercles or spicules) vs. none in the latter. In addition, seeds are farinose (generally covered with whitish powdery substance) vs. lustrous brownish in the latter. NOTE: The key and text in Godfrey & Wooten (1979) say that the lateral keel of X. serotina is "lacerate", versus very short prickly in X. ambigua, but the illustration on p. 489 shows it as very short prickly.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Members of Xyris are easy to identify to genus, but can be a challenge to identify species. Careful observation of a few features with a hand-lens is usually sufficient. Close attention must be paid to the flowering head, which is composed of overlapping brown scales. Immediately behind each scale are two brown "lateral sepals"; the margins of these may be feathery or irregularly lacerate (cut into narrow segments) or finely cut into short, comb-like prickles. Lateral sepals may be hidden or a bit longer than each scale. The flowers themselves are usually of little diagnostic value, other than time of flowering -- morning vs. afternoon. Seed size and ornamentation can also be useful characters, but require a dissecting scope to see well. Note also whether leaves and scapes (stems) are twisted and the color of the basal portion. All species have 2-ranked leaves, but in some species the leaves are arranged in a broad, fan-like shape. Finally, note the leaf and stem surface texture -- whether smooth of with little pale bumps. See Godfrey & Wooten (1979) for detailed descriptions and drawings.
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSH
Global RankG3G4
State StatusSC-H
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
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