Eleocharis melanocarpa

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Eleocharis melanocarpa
Eleocharis melanocarpa ahaines GB.JPG
Photo by © Arthur Haines, New England Wild Flower Society
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Moncots
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Eleocharis
Species: E. melanocarpa
Binomial name
Eleocharis melanocarpa
Natural range of Eleocharis melanocarpa from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Black-fruited spikerush, blackfruit spikerush[1][2]


E. melanocarpa is a perennial, monoecious, graminoid, sedge.[2] On its seed, the tubercle is very short and dilated with its projecting edge rolled over and surrounding the top of the nut.[3] The tips of the culms of E. melanocarpa often arch over and root in the substrate forming a dense tangle. [4] It commonly grows in stools containing several roots and five to 20 stems. Stems range in length from 1 to 3.6 ft (0.3 to 1.1 m) in length. Stools are commonly bunched together into clusters 1 ft (0.3 m) or more in diameter.[3]


E. melanocarpa ranges from Massachusetts to Florida and Mississippi, disjunct to eastern Texas, southern Michigan, and northern Indiana. [2][4][1] Despite most studies not listing E. melanocarpa as occurring in Louisiana, the species has been found in parts of Bienville Parish in 2008 suggesting a more connective distribution along its southern range.[5][6]



E. melanocarpa is a facultative wetland species found in moist to wet ditches and freshwater pond margins,[7] wet pine savannas, and coastal plain bogs.[1] Such occurrences in these habitats are often ephemeral, sandy, and can range from sunny to shady.[5]


E. melanocarpa blooms during the months of June and July in more northern parts of its range[8] and in July through September in its southern range.[1]

Fire ecology

Despite typically inhabiting wet areas, fires from adjacent habitats (e.g. longleaf pine savannas, sandhill pines, old-field, etc.) are thought to burn into drawn-down areas of wet ponds/ditches. Such burns likely maintain more open canopy conditions benefiting populations of E. melanocarpa. [5]


E. melanocarpa has no organs for attracting insects for pollination. Instead, it relies on the wind to disseminate pollen.[8]

Conservation and Management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley A. S.(2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 USDA, NRCS. (2016). The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 30 November 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hill E. J. (1894). Eleocharis melanocarpa a proliferous plant. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 25(7):392-394.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sorrie B. A. and Leonard S. W. (1999). Noteworthy records of Mississippi vascular plants. Sida 18:889-908.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Reid C. S. and Faulkner P. L. (2010). Louisiana. Castanea 75(1):138-140.
  6. Sorrie B. A. and Weakley A. S. (2001). Coastal plain vascular plant endemics: Phytogeographic patterns. Castanea 66(1/2):50-82.
  7. Contributions to the flora of Florida: 8, Eleocharis (Cyperaceae). Castanea 40(1):16-36.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harper R. M. (1918). The vegetation of the Hempstead Plains. Proceedings of the semi-centennial anniversary of the Torry Botanical Club. Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club 17:262-286.