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Eriocaulon nudicuspe.JPG
Eriocaulon nudicuspe
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Eriocaulaceae
Genus: Eriocaulon
  • Cespa Hill
  • Nasmythia Huds.
  • Randalia P.Beauv. ex Desv.
  • Sphaerochloa P.Beauv. ex Desv.
  • Symphachne P.Beauv. ex Desv.
  • Leucocephala Roxb.
  • Busseuillia R.Lesson
  • Chaetodiscus Steud.
  • Electrosperma F.Muell.
  • Dichrolepis Welw.
  • Lasiolepis Boeckeler

Eriocaulon is a genus of about 400 species commonly known as pipeworts, of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Eriocaulaceae. The genus is widely distributed, with the centers of diversity for the group occurring in tropical regions, particularly southern Asia and the Americas. A few species extend to temperate regions, with ca. 10 species in the United States, mostly in the southern states from California to Florida, and only two species in Canada; China has 35 species, also mostly southern. Only one species (E. aquaticum) occurs in Europe, where it is confined to the Atlantic Ocean coasts of Scotland and Ireland;[3] this species also occurs in eastern North America and is thought to be a relatively recent natural colonist in Europe. In the Americas, Eriocaulon is the only genus in its family that occurs north of Florida.[4] They tend to be associated with wet soils, many growing in shallow water, in wetlands, or in wet savannas like flatwoods. In wet soils, their abundance appears to be related to water levels, fire frequency, and competition from other plants such as grasses. Experiments have shown that they are weak competitors compared to many other wetland plant species.[5] Some species can persist as buried seeds during unfavorable conditions.[6] The scientific name is derived from Ancient Greek εριον, erion, meaning 'wool', and καυλός, caulos, meaning 'stalk'.[7]

The species are mostly herbaceous perennial plants, though some are annual plants; they resemble plants in the related families Cyperaceae (sedges) and Juncaceae (rushes), and like them, have rather small, wind-pollinated flowers.

Selected species[edit]

Names were sourced from official sources including: the Flora of North America,[8] the Flora of China,[9] currently accepted Australian taxa from the Australian Plant Name Index,[1] etc..

Species accepted by the authoritative Australian Plant Census, informally named, described and published awaiting formal publication
  • Eriocaulon sp. C Kimberley Flora (G.J.Keighery 4610) WA Herbarium – WA, Australia
  • Eriocaulon sp. E Kimberley Flora (A.S.George 12635) WA Herbarium – WA, Australia
  • Eriocaulon sp. G Kimberley Flora (K.F.Kenneally 11374E) WA Herbarium – WA, Australia
  • Eriocaulon sp. Harding Range (M.D.Barrett & R.L.Barrett MDB 1826) WA Herbarium – WA, Australia
  • Eriocaulon sp. Theda (M.D.Barrett MDB 2063) WA Herbarium – WA, Australia


  1. ^ a b "Eriocaulon%". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) database (listing by % wildcard matching of all taxa relevant to Australia). Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Sculthorpe, C. D. The Biology of Aquatic Vascular Plants. Edward Arnold. London. 1967. Reprinted 1985. Figure 11.6.
  4. ^ Kaul, Robert (1966), "Eriocaulaceae of continental North America north of Mexico", Sida, 2: 285–332
  5. ^ Wilson, S. D. and P. A. Keddy. 1986. Species competitive ability and position along a natural stress/disturbance gradient. Ecology 67:1236-1242.
  6. ^ Keddy, P. A. and A. A. Reznicek. 1982. The role of seed banks in the persistence of Ontario's coastal plain flora. American Journal of Botany 69:13-22.
  7. ^ Kaul, Robert (2006), "Eriocaulon", in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+ (ed.), Flora of North America, vol. 22, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press
  8. ^ "Eriocaulon". Flora of North America. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Eriocaulon". Flora of China. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  10. ^ Eriocaulon madayiparense.