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Netted Nutrush (Scleria reticularis)

Life history

Species overview

Netted Nutrush (Scleria reticularis), a Wisconsin Endangered plant, is found on drying, muddy pond or lake bottoms with fluctuating water levels. Blooming occurs throughout August; fruiting occurs throughout September. The optimal identification period for this species is late August through late September.

Synonyms: Scleria reticularis var. pumila


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Hypogynium with 3 oblong lobes appressed to the achene and resembling a calyx.
  • Flower characteristics: 1 to 4 cymes, the lateral remote.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achene subglobose, white or sordid-gray, 1.5 to 2 mm thick, marked with narrow ridges enclosing shallow, irregularly polygonal pits; hypogynium double, the inner 3-lobed, resembling a calyx, each lobe oblong and closely appressed to the smooth or minutely hairy achene.
  • Leaf characteristics: Main blades 2 to 4 mm wide, sometimes hairy.


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


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Annual/perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Rotala ramosior, Fimbristylis autumnalis, Panicum spp., Polygonum spp. Asclepias hirtella, Rhexia virginica, Hemicarpha micrantha, Viola lanceolata, Eleocharis acicularis, E. intermedia.

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 Netted Nutrush (Scleria reticularis). 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 Scleria reticularis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
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 drying, muddy pond or lake bottoms with fluctuating water levels.
  • Soils: Moist to wet, sometimes sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Netted Nutrush. 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 Netted Nutrush. 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 Plains 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

  • 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.
  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.


Netted Nutrush Photo.

Photo ©  USDA-NRCS.

Netted Nutrush Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

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