Eleocharis bifida S.G. Smith

Locations ofEleocharis bifida S.G. Smith in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Eleocharis bifida S.G. Smith
Common Name
Bifid Spikerush
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Eleocharis bifida S.G. Smith
Eleocharis bifida was split off from Eleocharis compressa in Novon 11:243 (2001) as a taxon of cedar glades and barrens primarily west of the Appalachians. A collection from the Lexington glades originally thought to be E. compressa was subsequently studied by Lane Gibbons who noted its similarity to the more robust E. bifida. After much careful study, it was apparent it came closer to this species than to typical eastern E. compressa. Eleocharis bifida lies at the extreme of a continuum of variation and is most reliably identified by having bifid proximal scales, whereas proximal scales of E. compressa are entire (though floral scales may be bifid or entire). To add to the perplexity, occasionally, E. compressa from the midwest may display a slightly notched apex. Nevertheless, the wider culms, thicker rhizomes with more persistent culms, and generally robust nature of Eleocharis bifida serve to distinguish it reasonable well.
This species' co-occurrence with Sedum pulchellum and Scutellaria parvula at the Lexington barrens, the only known station in Virginia for all three, is phytogeographically significant as all are regular members of the middle Tennessee cedar glade flora.
Open limestone bedrock outcrops subject to seasonal seepage. Rare, mountains; known only from a complex of limestone flatrocks near Lexington, Rockbridge Co. (Ridge and Valley province).
Native Status

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