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- Kevin Doyle
Brown Beak-rush (Rhynchospora fusca)
Brown Beak-rush (Rhynchospora fusca), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found on very wet bog and fen mats, often near Lake Superior. Blooming occurs throughout June; fruiting occurs throughout July. The optimal identification period for this species is late June through early August.
Synonyms: Schoenus fuscus
- Distinguishing characteristics: Achenes uniformly pale brown; colonial by slender rhizomes.
- Flower characteristics: Inflorescence of 1 to 3 top-shaped or ovoid glomerules 10 to 15 mm long by 5 to 12 mm wide; spikelets 4 to 6 mm, dark brown, with 2 to 3 flowers
- Fruit characteristics: Achenes obovate or triangular-obovate to pear-shaped, 1.1 to 1.4 mm and three-fourths as wide, light brown, smooth.
- Leaf characteristics: Very slender, involute, mostly shorter than the stems.
- Blooming phenology: throughout June
- Fruiting phenology: throughout July
- Optimum time to identify: late June through early August
- Growth form: Graminoid
- Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
- Life cycle: Perennial
- Comments: Associated Species: Cladium mariscoides, Utricularia cornuta, Carex lasiocarpa, Triglochin maritimum, Platanthera clavellata, P. dilatata, Pogonia ophioglossoides, Calopogon tuberosus, Myrica gale.
Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin
The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Brown Beak-rush (Rhynchospora fusca). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.
|Federal Status in Wisconsin||none|
|Tracked by NHI||Y|
Habitats and landscapes
The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.
General habitat information
- Habitat description: Found on very wet bog and fen mats, often near Lake Superior.
- Soils: Wet soils.
This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Brown Beak-rush. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).
This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Brown Beak-rush. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.
The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.
These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.
- Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
- Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species
- Survey for and control invasive plants prior to conducting timber operations, as these can be spread by vehicles and often respond vigorously to increased light; see forestry BMPs for invasive species.
- This species is likely sensitive to water quality. Following BMPs around streams and buffering associated drainages will reduce eutrophication and prevent water quality degradation.
- Avoid rapid and dramatic reductions in canopy cover or basal area in wet areas to reduce risk of swamping.
- Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
Links to additional Brown Beak-rush information
Other links related to vascular plants (all exit the DNR website)
- Wisconsin Flora
- NatureServe Explorer
- Atlas of Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna Flora - Wisconsin State Herbarium
- USDA - NRCS Plants Database
- USGS Midwestern Wetland Flora - field office guide to plant species
- Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Herbarium
- Intermountain Herbarium Grasses of North America
- Orchids of Wisconsin
Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.