Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Small's Yellow-eyed-grass - Xyris smalliana   Nash
Members of Xyris with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Commelinales » Family Xyridaceae
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AuthorNash
DistributionMostly southern Coastal Plain and Sandhills; scattered northeast to Lake Phelps in Washington County.

Coastal Plain, southern ME to southern FL and southern MS; eastern TX; Cuba; southern Mex.- C.A. Not known from VA.
AbundanceUncommon, but may be numerous where found. This is a Watch List species.
HabitatMargins and shallow water of blackwater stream impoundments, beaver ponds, natural depression ponds and sinkhole ponds.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late July-September.
IdentificationSmall's Yellow-eyed-grass is one of our robust species, its scapes typically 2-4 feet tall and leaves 1-2 feet long and up to 1.5 cm wide. Leaves are pink or reddish basally; and the leaves and stem have a lustrous sheen to them. This species often grows with Fringed Yellow-eyed-grass (X. fimbriata), but is shorter and its lateral sepals are short-lacerate rather than long-fringed.
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)None
State RankS3
Global RankG5
State StatusW1
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorrieSuggs Mill Pond, late July 2016. BladenPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieRichmond County, 2004, Gibson Pond at US 1.

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