12. Scleria curtissii Britton in J. K. Small, Fl. S.E. U.S. 200, 1328. 1903.
Scleria ciliata Michaux var. curtissii (Britton) J. W. Kessler; S. pauciflora Muhlenberg ex Willdenow var. curtissii (Britton) Fairey
Plants perennial; rhizomes nodulose, 3–4 mm thick, very short creeping. Culms ± in tufts, slender, 20–40 cm, glabrous or pilose. Leaves: sheaths reddish, not winged, weakly ribbed, pilose; contra-ligule obtuse to triangular, short; blades channeled, shorter than or equaling inflorescence, 1–2 mm wide, glabrous or sparsely pilose on margins and midvein abaxially. Inflorescences terminal cluster, sometimes with 1 or 2 axillary clusters, 0.4–1.5 cm × 2–8 mm; lateral clusters remote on filiform peduncles; bracts subtending inflorescence erect, short, appearing like continuation of culm, glabrous or sparsely pilose on margins and midvein abaxially. Spikelets bisexual or staminate, 2–5 mm; staminate scales lanceolate, margins scarious; pistillate scales broadly ovate-lanceolate, margins scarious, midvein green, excurrent. Achenes globose or ovoid, 2–3 mm, bluntly umbonate, surface distinctly reticulate, irregularly ridged toward apex, basal papillae reduced or absent, apex bluntly mucronate; hypogynium with 6 rather confined tubercles arranged in pairs.
Fruiting summer–fall. Pinelands or oak-pine woods; 0–50 m; Fla., Ga.; West Indies (Cuba).
Scleria curtissii was reduced to a variety of S. pauciflora because of the existence in the mountains of Mexico of specimens with some features that appeared intermediate between the two species (J. E. Fairey 1969). The reticulated achenes and slender habit of this narrowly distributed entity, however, still appear striking and not especially similar to the Mexican plants. It is tentatively accorded specific rank here pending a thorough study of the systematics of those Mexican plants. The taxon has also been treated as S. ciliata var. curtissii (J. W. Kessler 1987; R. P. Wunderlin 1998).