17. Rhynchospora colorata (Linnaeus) H. Pfeiffer, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 38: 89. 1935.
Schoenus coloratus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 43. 1753; Dichromena cephalotes Britton; D. colorata (Linnaeus) Hitchcock; D. leucocephala Michaux; Rhynchospora drummondiana Steudel; Scirpus cephalotes Walter 1788, not Linnaeus 1762
Plants perennial, cespitose or solitary, to 70 cm; rhizomes slender, scaly, to 2 mm thick. Culms erect, slender, leafy-based, trigonous, several-ribbed. Leaves spreading to erect, overtopped by culm; blades narrowly linear, proximally flattened, 0.5–3 mm wide, apex tapering, trigonous. Inflorescences terminal, solitary, headlike, dense, white, leafy-involucrate; involucral bracts several, flaring to recurved, white from broadened base nearly to median, then green to tapered tip, longer bracts 13 cm × 2–7 mm. Spikelets white, ovoid, 5–7 mm, apex acute; fertile scales many, boat shaped, sharply curved keeled, 3–4(–5) mm, apex acute or blunt. Flowers: perianth absent. Fruits several per spikelet, 1.5–1.7(–2) mm; body yellow to mahogany, broadly pyriform obovoid, tumidly lenticular, 1 × 0.5–0.7 mm, widest at apex, margins thickened, interrupted at base of tubercle; surfaces transversely undulate rugose, ridges contiguous, of short linear papillae; tubercle broadly triangular, 0.5–0.6 mm, gray crustaceous, apex short acuminate. 2n = 12.
Fruiting late spring–summer. Sands, peats, and silt of interdunal swales, shores, meadowy swales, and marsh edges, sometimes fens, usually on circumneutral or basic substrates; 0–300 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C., Tex., Va.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; South America (French Guiana).
Rhynchospora colorata is a slender and clonal version of R. latifolia, with a distinct preference for more basic substrates; involucral bracts are very slender and have a longer portion of green, usually reaching well proximal to midbract.
See also 16. Rhynchospora latifolia.