E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Rhynchospora alba (L.) Vahl
white beak-rush (white beaksedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jeremy Gatten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #30000)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Rhynchospora alba
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
New! Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.



General:
Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems slender, more or less solid, triangular in cross-section, usually longer than the leaves, (8) 15-50 cm tall.
Leaves:
Sheaths straw-coloured, more or less persistent, closed; blades several, on the stem, the lowest more or less reduced, often to mere scales, the others slender and elongate, folded or triangular in cross-section to thick and flat, 0.3-1 mm wide.
Flowers:
Inflorescence of 1 to 3, compact, axillary or terminal heads, mostly 5-15 mm wide, the terminal head larger than the others, each head with several to many spikes, the spikes white, becoming pale brown, often with a whitish or pinkish tinge, mostly 3.5-5 mm long, 2- to 3-flowered; involucral bracts longer or shorter than the inflorescence, 0.5-6 cm long.
Fruits:
Scales egg-shaped or lanceolate, pale brown, translucent on the margins, spirally arranged within the spikes; perianth bristles 10 to 12, well-developed, minutely finely barbed backwards, surpassing the achene bodies and sometimes also the tubercles; achenes lens-shaped, 1.5-2.5 mm long; broadest above the middle, tapering to narrow, nearly stalked bases, capped by elongate, narrow awl-like tubercles, about 1/3 to 1/2 as long as the achenes.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs and fens in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in and W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in BC south of 56degreeN, rare in SC BC; circumpolar, N to SW AK, E to NF and S to ME, MA, NC, IN, IL, MN, ID and CA; West Indies, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Rhynchospora alba

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 10 278 1529
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 45
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
2 357 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
A
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
155
Modal BEC Zone Class
CWH
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(5), CDF(9), CWH(123), ESSF(3), ICH(9), MH(2), SBS(4)

Ecological Indicator Information

A very shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circum­polar sedge [transcontinental in North America (absent in Alberta and Manitoba)]. Occurs on wet to very wet, nitrogen­poor soils (Mor humus forms) within boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing precipitation. Scattered in non-forested, semi­terrestrial communities on water-collecting sites; occasional on acidic sands. An oxylophytic species characteristic of nutrient-poor wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Rhynchospora luquillensis Britt.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References