Cyperus grayi Torr.

Gray's flatsedge

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Gray's flatsedge is a native flatsedge of sandy soils near the coast, including dunes, protected beaches and open woodlands. It reaches the northeastern edge of its range in southern Connecticut, Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire (where it is listed as endangered). Look at the base of the plant, which is often bulbous in shape.

Habitat

Coastal beaches (sea beaches), dunes, sandplains and barrens, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
Leaf blade width
1–3 mm
Leaf blade cross-section
the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
Inflorescence position
the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
Inflorescence branching
the inflorescence is branched
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is like a seed, and surrounded by scales
Fruit length
1.5–2 mm
Leaf position on plant
the attachment points of all the leaves are at or near the base of the plant
Perianth composition
there is no perianth on the plant
Fruit cross-section
the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.7–1 mm
    Floral bristle color
    NA
    Floral bristle number
    0
    Floral bristle relative length
    NA
    Floral bristles
    NA
    Floral scale hairs
    there are no hairs on the floral scales
    Floral scale length
    2–2.8 mm
    Floral scale nerves
    7 or more
    Floral scale shape
    the floral scales are ovate (roughly egg-shaped)
    Floral scale translucent
    the floral scales are opaque
    Flower number per cluster
    • 2-5
    • 5-20
    • more than 20
    Inflorescence bract angle
    the bracts are vertical or angled only slightly outwards
    Inflorescence bract number
    there are two to five bracts per inflorescence
    Inflorescence bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Inflorescence bracts
    there are at least two bracts, and they are either flat or folded or rolled in at the edges
    Inflorescence branching
    the inflorescence is branched
    Inflorescence crowding
    the inflorescence is at least somewhat spread out, with at least one branch coming from the main stem
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
    Inflorescence shape
    the aggregations within the inflorescence are at least somewhat flattened in cross-section
    Inflorescence type
    there are two or more flowers, spikes or flower clusters on a branched inflorescence
    Perianth composition
    there is no perianth on the plant
    Stamen number
    3
    Stigma number
    3
    Style division
    the top two thirds of the style is divided
    floral bristle barbs
    NA
    plantlets budding at flower bases
    no
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene beak length
    0 mm
    Achene surface texture
    the achene has very tiny pits or depressions on it
    Achene tubercle relative width
    NA
    Achene tubercle width
    0 mm
    Capsule relative length
    NA
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
    Fruit length
    1.5–2 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is like a seed, and surrounded by scales
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, seed-like fruit) without a tubercle (a swelling or projection, usually of a different color or texture)
    Locules in capsule
    NA
    Seed length
    0 mm
    Seed tail relative length
    0 mm
    Seed tails
    NA
    Tubercle height
    0 mm
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Auricle length
    0 mm
    Auricle texture
    NA
    Auricles
    there are no auricles on the leaf sheath
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
    Leaf blade length
    50–250 mm
    Leaf blade width
    1–3 mm
    Leaf form
    all the leaves hold their form out of water
    Leaf position on plant
    the attachment points of all the leaves are at or near the base of the plant
    Leaf septa
    the leaf blades do not have transverse septa
    Leaf sheath hairs
    the leaf sheathes are without hairs
    Pedicel length (Typha)
    0 mm
    Stem leaf blade ligules
    there are no ligules at the leaf blade bases
    Stem leaf blades
    there are fully-developed leaves with leaf blades on the main stem
    Width of seed-producing inflorescence
    6–20 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • dunes
    • sandplains or barrens
    • sea beaches
    • woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    5–40 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
    Stem texture near tip
    the stem feels smooth near the tip

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Cyperus lupulinus:
involucral bracts mostly spreading to reflexed, scabrous-margined, numbering 2-4 per cluster, and anthers 0.3-0.6 mm long (vs. C. grayi, with involucral bracts ascending to sometimes spreading-ascending, smooth or weakly scabrous-margined, and anthers 0.7-1 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Cyperus filiculmis Vahl. var. oblitus Fern. & Grisc.

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Cyperus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

11.  Cyperus grayi Torr. N

Gray’s flatsedge. Cyperus filiculmis Vahl. var. oblitus Fern. & Grisc. • CT, MA, NH, RI. Sandy soils near the Atlantic coast, such as dunes, back beaches, and open woodlands.