Fimbristylis autumnalis (L.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes

slender fimbry

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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

Slender fimbry is a native plant that grows in sandy or peaty pond shores, temporarily wet sites, and sometimes in areas of human disturbance. Although it is found in all New England states and much of eastern North America, it is listed as rare in Maine and Vermont. This graceful member of the sedge family gets its common name from its slender stems, which are topped by delicate spikes borne on long bracnhes.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is round or oval 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
0.5–0.7 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
    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
    1.5–2 mm
    Floral scale shape
    the floral scales are lanceolate (widest below the middle, and tapering at both ends)
    Floral scale translucent
    the floral scales are opaque
    Flower number per cluster
    • 1
    • 2-5
    • 5-20
    • more than 20
    Inflorescence bract angle
    the bracts are angled outwards near horizontal or reflexed downwards
    Inflorescence bract number
    there is just one bract on the inflorescence
    Inflorescence bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Inflorescence bracts
    there is only one bract, and it looks like a continuation of the stem
    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 roughly circular (not 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
    • 1
    • 2
    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 surface texture
    the achene is smooth (it has no detectable texture)
    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
    0.5–0.7 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 only a single year or less
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • 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
    Up to 150 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
    the plant has 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
    1–1.5 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • in lakes or ponds
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    5–30 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is round or oval in cross-section
    Stem texture near tip
    the stem feels smooth near the tip

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Maine
rare to uncommon (S-rank: S2S3), special concern (code: SC)
Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)
Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Bulbostylis capillaris:
leaves up to 0.5 mm wide, with two lateral tufts of hairs at the junction of the blade and sheath, and stems capillary (vs. F. autumnalis, with larger leaves 1-3 mm wide, without two lateral tufts of hairs at the junction of the blade and sheath, and stems flat).

Synonyms

  • Fimbristylis autumnalis (L.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes var. mucronulata (Michx.) Fern.
  • Scirpus autumnalis L.

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Fimbristylis

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Fimbristylis autumnalis (L.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes N

slender fimbry. Fimbristylis autumnalis (L.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes var. mucronulata (Michx.) Fern.; Scirpus autumnalis L. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Sandy or peaty pond shores, pools, and temporary wet areas, sometimes occurring in human-disturbed habitats.