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Long-beaked Bald-rush (Rhynchospora scirpoides)

Life history

Species overview

Long-beaked Bald-rush (Rhynchospora scirpoides), a Wisconsin Threatened plant, is found on sandy, muddy, or peaty shores of fluctuating inland lakes. Blooming occurs late July through late August; fruiting occurs early August through late September. The optimal identification period for this species is early August through late September.

Synonyms: Psilocarya corymbifera, Psilocarya corymbiformis, Psilocarya scirpoides, Psilocarya scirpoides var. grimesii


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Tubercule flat, triangular, awl-shaped, nearly or quite as long as the achene.
  • Flower characteristics: Spikes ovoid to cylindric, 3 to 7 mm, loosely clustered at the ends of the stem and branches; flowers bisexual, lacking a perianth; stames 1 or 2.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achenes 0.7 to 1 mm, rotund or a little wider than long, contracted to a short, broad stipe, with longitudinal fine line, pale brown, becoming nearly black, with raised pale margins.
  • Leaf characteristics: Tufted, blades 1 to 3 mm wide.


  • Blooming phenology: late July through late August
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through late September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early August through late September


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Annual
  • Comments: Associated Species: Fimbristylis autumnalis, Rhexia virginica, Hemicarpha micrantha, Fuirena pumila, Utricularia gibba, Eleocharis robbinsii, Eriocaulon septangulare, Dulichium arundinaceum, Scirpus smithii, Rhynchospora capitellata.

State status

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 Long-beaked Bald-rush (Rhynchospora scirpoides). 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.

Documented locations of Rhynchospora scirpoides in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

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 sandy, muddy, or peaty shores of fluctuating inland lakes.
  • Soils: Wet, sandy or peaty soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Long-beaked Bald-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).

Natural communities score
Coastal Plain Marsh 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Long-beaked Bald-rush. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Central Sand Hills 3

Species guidance

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.

Avoidance measures

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 guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.


Long-beaked Bald-rush Photo.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, Wisconsin DNR.

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 [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition