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Name derivation:

‘Graceful marsh dweller’:  Greek words ἕλειος (heleios), meaning "marsh dweller," and χάρις (charis), meaning "grace."  Sedges having dense spikes of flowers and leaves reduced to basal sheaths


Eleocharis  R. Br.;  approximately 200 of 600 species descriptions are currently accepted taxonomically (Gonzáles-Elizondo and Peterson  1997).

Order Cyperales;  Family Cyperaceae.

Perennating buds at the apex of the rhizomes (Walters 1950).


Rhizome with several haulms (spike-like stems), each a terminal shoot.  Leaves are basal sheaths on haulms.  The fruit is a biconvex nut 1-2 mm diameter.  Most of the haulms die at the end of the growing season, leaving only buds produced at the apices of rhizomes to overwinter (Ibid.).


Similar genera:




Widespread (‘cosmopolitan’) distribution globally.  Greatest species diversity is in the Amazon Rainforest and eastern slopes of the Andes mountain range to an altitude > 5,000 meters..  Also diverse in southern Africa and subtropical Asia.



Gonzáles-Elizondo, M.S. and P.M. Peterson  1997,  A classification of and key to the supraspecific taxa in Eleocharis (Cyperaceae).  Taxon 46:433-449.

Walters, S.M.  1950.  On the vegetative morphology of Eleocharis R.Br.  New Phytologist 49(1):1-7.