Scleria P.J. Bergius.
Contributed by Richard J. LeBlond
A genus of about 250 species, herbs, pantropical, extending into temperate regions. Recent work has brought clarity to portions of this genus occurring in the eastern United States, including the S. ciliata complex, where work remains to be done with S. pauciflora. Investigation of the S. triglomerata complex has led to the recognition of two older species, S. nitida and S. flaccida. When present, the hypogynium at the base of the achene is a critical identifying feature for many Scleria taxa. In some taxa, such as S. baldwinii and S. georgiana, the hypogynium is absent from the achene but remains attached to the summit of the pedicel. This little-understood condition may have descriptive potential. Hardened achenes are necessary for reliable identification to species. In the key, achene length includes hypogynium when present. The scale character applies only to the ultimate bracteate structure clasping the achene.
ID notes:Scleria superficially resembles Rhynchospora in the field, but mature specimens are readily recognized by the terete white, gray, or black bony achenes. Hardened achenes are necessary for reliable identification to species. In the key, achene length includes the achene body and hypogynium (when present). The scale character applies only to the ultimate bracteate structure clasping the achene.
Ref: Bauters et al. (2016); Bauters, Larridon, & Goetghebeur (2019); Core (1936); Fairey (1967); Goetghebeur In Kubitzki (1998b); Kessler (1987); LeBlond, Tessel, & Poindexter (2015); Reznicek, Fairey, & Whittemore (2002) In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2002b). Show full citations.