Rhynchospora nitens
Short-beak beak-rush

Key Characteristics

Small beak-rush (20-40 cm) of coastal plain marshes; stems leafy, rounded; inflorescence open with numerous clusters of dark brown spikelets; achene globose and transversely wrinkled with a small depressed-triangular cap that is much wider than long.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G4?


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Rhynchospora nitens

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Recently discovered in Allegan County, otherwise thought to be extirpated in the Great Lakes region.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Meadow beauty, tall bea-krush, bald-rush, Robbin's spike-rush, Rhexia vir, panic grass, knotweed.


This species requires conservation of habitat and protection of the hydrology, including the maintenance of cyclical drawdown regime and water table. Maintain moist, open habitat. It may also be vulnerable to ORV impact and dredging and filling activities.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Sep 24, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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