Plants and Animals

Rhynchospora scirpoides Bald-rush

species photo
Susan R. Crispin
species photo
Ryan P. O'Connor

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 small (1 mm) and roundish with a pointed triangular cap.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan42016
Barry32012
Berrien12015
Cass31988
Kalamazoo51955
Kent11899
Muskegon62011
Newaygo52006
Oakland11987
Oceana12006
Van Buren52015
Washtenaw21995

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.

Habitat

Bald-rush is found in areas with a fluctuating water table such as coastal plain marshes, sandy lake edges, dune swales, seepages, sandy marshes, sandy and peaty edges of wetlands and intermittent wetlands.

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

Lance-leaved violet, beak-rush, bulrush, Robbin's spikerush, sedge (e g strict sedge), bluejoint grass, twig-rush, sedges, bushy aster, black-fruited spike-rush, umbrella-grass, northern clubmoss, panic grass, cross-leaved milkwort, bald rush, tall beak-rush, tooth-cup, netted nut-rush, hyssop hedge nettle, marsh St John's-wort, pipewort, autumn sedge, and meadow beauty. The shrub margin may include red maple, black gum, pin oak, black chokecherry, dogwoods, and buttonbush.

Management Recommendations

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

Survey Methods

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

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of August to fourth week of September

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Crow, G.E. and C.B. Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. Volume 1. Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms: Dicotyledons. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 480pp.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 23: Magnoliaphyta: Commelinidae (in part): Cyperaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. 608pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Godfrey, R.K. and Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States. Dicotyledons. University of Georgia Press, Athens. 712pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. 1986. Guide to the Vascular Flora of Illinois. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 507pp.
  • Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles, and C. R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 1183pp.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 488pp.