Scleria triglomerata Michx.

whip nutsedge

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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

Whip nutsedge is the most common and widespread species in its genus (Scleria), but it is rare and in decline in New England, with a few populations remaining in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Its plight is probably due to natural succession reducing the number of open, seasonally wet, sandy sites on which it occurs.

Habitat

Meadows and fields, wetland margins (edges of wetlands), woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
Leaf blade width
3–9 mm
Leaf blade cross-section
the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
Inflorescence position
  • the inflorescence emerges from an axil, or most of its parts do so
  • 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
2–3 mm
Leaf position on plant
some leaf attachment points are above the midpoint of the stem
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
    2.5–4 mm
    Floral bristle color
    NA
    Floral bristle number
    0
    Floral bristle relative length
    NA
    Floral bristles
    NA
    Floral scale hairs
    the floral scales have hairs on them
    Floral scale shape
    the floral scales are ovate (roughly egg-shaped)
    Floral scale translucent
    the floral scales are opaque
    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
    • the inflorescence is crowded together in one tight cluster
    Inflorescence position
    • the inflorescence emerges from an axil, or most of its parts do so
    • 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
    • there is one spike or raceme at the tip of the stem
    Perianth composition
    there is no perianth on the plant
    Stamen number
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Stigma number
    • 2
    • 3
    Style division
    the top two thirds of the style is divided
    floral bristle barbs
    NA
  • 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
    2–3 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
    Up to 40 mm
    Leaf blade width
    3–9 mm
    Leaf form
    all the leaves hold their form out of water
    Leaf position on plant
    some leaf attachment points are above the midpoint of the stem
    Leaf septa
    the leaf blades do not have transverse septa
    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
    5–15 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • meadows or fields
    • woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    40–100 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
    Stem texture near tip
    the edges of the stem feel rough near the tip
    Stem thickness at midpoint
    2.5–6 mm

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Connecticut
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), state threatened (code: ST)
Vermont
unrankable (S-rank: SU)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Scleria flaccida Steud.
  • Scleria nitida Willd.

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Scleria

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

3.  Scleria triglomerata Michx. NC

whip nutsedge. Scleria flaccida Steud.; S. nitida Willd. • CT, MA, RI, VT. Openings in woodlands, moist sandy fields, and low, seasonally wet, sandy areas. The voucher for this species from 
 VT is somewhat enigmatic—it is without location (beyond the state), date, or collector, though it is in the hand of Perkins (Arthur Gilman, personal communication; specimen at VT).