Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Rhynchospora alba (L.) Vahl.
CYPERACEAE (Sedge Family)
EtymologyRhyncospora means with beaked seeds, from the Greek: rhynchos = beak + sporo = seed, sowing; alba is Latin for white.
Synonyms (Common Name)White Beak-sedge
DescriptionDespite its name, white beak-rush is a perennial sedge. Often forming colonies, it reaches to 2 1/4' high. White beak-rush bears 1-4 whitish spikelets.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Heightto 28 inches
Leavesarrow, to 1/10" wide; sheaths closed except at summit; leafy bracts subtend spikelets.
Flower/InflorescenceSpikelets 1-4, terminal and axillary, stalked, broadly ovate, to 1/4" long; each spikelet is subdivided into 1-3 small, short-stalked glomerules (densely packed flower clusters); white to light brown.
FruitAchene, with 8-14 minutely barbed bristles as long as tubercle; awl-shaped tubercle half or two-thirds as long as achene.
Fruiting PeriodJuly-September.
HabitatBogs, wet peat and sand.
RangeNewfoundland to Alaska, south to North Carolina, Minnesota, and California.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett