www.zinnysworld.com    Copyright 2000-2015 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved. Starrush Whitetop Rhynchospora colorata

The distribution maps for the Starrush Whitetop are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Starrush Whitetop is also commonly known as White Star Sedge and White-topped Sedge.  It is a native wildflower in the southeastern United States from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas.  It can be found in wet swales and ditches, moist pinelands; it can sometimes be found growing submerged in shallow water.

It is a perennial sedge with white bracts, giving it the appearance of white petals with long green points.  The inflorescence is a dense cluster of small spikes, each containing several tiny flowers.  It sits on top of the 3-6 green and white bracts that grow 4-6 inches long.  Although the bracts look like leaves, the actual leaves arise from the base of the plant.  The grass-like leaves are thin and erect and are 4-6 inches long.  The plant it self reaches a height of 1-2 feet.  This plant has underground stems that can spread and form large colonies.

This plant is a member of the grass-like sedge family, cyperaceae. The whitish bracts often attract small insect pollinators, which is unusual in this primarily wind-pollinated family.

The upper left photo was taken along the access road to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Collier County.  All of the other photos were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.