Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Xyris difformis Chapm.
- Family: Yellow-eyed-grass (Xyridaceae)
- Flowering: July-October
- Field Marks: The tips of the 2 lateral sepals are shorter than the bracts and the lateral
sepals have a toothed keel. The leaves are 1/4-3/4 inch wide. The seeds have about 25 ribs.
- Habitat: Wet soil.
- Habit: Perennial herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, smooth, flattened at the base and at the top, 2- or 3-ribbed above, up to 2 1/2 feet tall, bearing no leaves but only a solitary, terminal head.
- Leaves: All basal, upright, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, widest about the middle, smooth, 1/4-3/4 inch wide.
- Flowers: Several crowded into a head, the head solitary, terminal, ovoid to nearly spherical, rounded at the tip, 1/2-1 inch long, each flower subtended by a leathery scale (bract).
- Sepals: 3, the 2 lateral ones with a toothed keel, up to 1/4 inch long, shorter than the bracts and smaller than the third thin sepal.
- Petals: 3, united below to form a narrow tube, yellow, the lobes all equal.
- Stamens: 3, attached to the tube of the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3.
- Fruits: Capsules ellipsoid, smooth, containing many seeds; seeds with about 25 ribs.
- Notes: The seeds are eaten by waterfowl. Two varieties of this species occur. Var. curtissii is shorter in height and occurs throughout the Great Lakes and eastern coastal regions into Florida and Texas. Var. floridana occurs on the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain.
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