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Local Eriocaulon and Eleocharis, a nano journal

3304 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Fortuna Wolf
I live in coastal NC, where there are swamps, sandhills, and pocosins and even a few hot springs.
I'm moving to go to graduate school in 3 weeks now - if I get done with my packing and have a few days free I'll definitely take trips to all the local water holes and take pics for you.

But first, let me tell you about one pond that I love. Its a large pond, about 2 acres large I'd guess. I suspect it might be spring fed, but that doesn't stop it from drying up when there's a drought.

I looked on microsoft maps and found it, apparently a dry square in the pine savannah. On yahoo maps it shows as being filled up. Go figure.

This summer its been half filled. There's differing elevation in it and so some parts are dry and some are still wet. I'd say that its about 5ft below full level right now. Also, even though its in the sandhills the actual substrate is a white-grey sand-clay mixture. Most of the surrounding substrate is a loose sand with bits of organics. The pocosins located nearby are usually peat.

The water is mostly clear, with a visibility of about 5ft, and then it turns a green-blue. This is fine for the plants, since currently all the submersed plants are no more than 1ft below the waterline, although extending up to the dry shore you can see eriocaulons and eleocharis in various stages of drying out.

Last time I was out here there was little algae, but now a loose scum and bit of spirogea is starting to grow around the submersed plants. I walked out a bit, being careful to walk in the deeper areas around the plants. Its really beautiful out there as I can see several species of fish darting about, and even a school of small fish, <1cm long, along with frogs and plenty of water bugs.

I have to remember to catch a boatman.

A white heron also decided to visit while I was out there.

Anyhow, I suspect its spring fed because there are a few >10ft deep areas that you can see large holes inside, almost like mini caves.

I apologize for not having the foresight to take my camera, but I did take a few eriocaulons and eleocharis that were loose and floating (I swear that they were already uprooted and floating). A few handfuls of muck later I also decided to snag some droserea that were growing on the shore as an experiment.

The water level in this tank is actually deeper than the water level that the plants were growing in.

PS, I also didn't have any sample vials on me, I swear I'll take some with me next time too and analyze the water.

Two years ago I visited here and took some Eriocaulons for taxonomic research. If I remember correctly there are Eriocaulon compressum and Eleocharis vivipara. (I hate E. vivipara as an aquarium plant, but since this is a bit of home that I'm taking with me I'll deal with it!)


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Nice write up, FW! Love to see some pics next time you go out there.
Nice find! I was able to find some Eriocaulon in the New England area, I was wondering if you'd like to do a trade or sell some in the near future. Here's the link to my find.
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Yeah, I saw that thread.

It would be really interesting. When my tank is established and growing well and yours is too then we might do a swap. I've never grown Eriocaulon before.

According to taxonomic sources there are another two species of Eriocaulon growing here so I hope to get my hands on them too. Of course, its nearly impossible to ID them without the infloresence.

Have you managed to ID yours yet?

I'm pretty sure that mine also spreads horizontally through rhizomes (at least, I observed dead horizontal rhizomes leading into some live plants). Its a very interesting plant.
Yup, from what I tell its Eriocaulon aquaticum - Sevenangle Pipewort

Please let me know when you would like to set something up, or when you collect some more. :D
Did you take a very good picture of the infloresence, or if its still blooming, can you?

If its E. aquaticum it should have these characteristics:

Receptable and/or base of lowers glabrous or sparingly hairy; receptacular bracteoles and/or perianth parts glabrous or hairy, the hairs club-shaped, celar or white; heads dark gray or white, 4-10mm in diameter when in full flower or fruit.

Stamens 4; pistil 2-carpellate

Heads 4-10mm in diameter when in full flower or fruit; outer involucral bracts usually reflexed, obscured by bracteoles and flowers.

Inner involucral bracts, receptacular bracts, and sepals darkened, usually gray to nearly black; young heads dark; seeds very faintly reticulate, not papillate.

Mine was easy to identify: the heads are easily flattened in the fingers and are 10-20mm in diameter.
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Hmm, I'll try to tonight.
Lets see if this works. I took it last night.
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Inflorescence = flower(s) and floral stem.
Right, I'll try to get that tonight. Unfortunetly it never opened, probably due change in parameters, and acclimation.
Right, I'll try to get that tonight. Unfortunetly it never opened, probably due change in parameters, and acclimation.
Ah, that's disappointing, but totally understandable.

Well, I'll keep this thread updated when I can tell if any of the plants are growing or dieing.

The two species of droserea I got I expect to die. The large one grows in a slightly lower elevation, oftentimes growing out of standing water in partial shade or full sun, I hope that if I keep the water fully oxygenated it will survive.
I was poking around a pond today and saw more Eleocharis. Different species. That one I think was E. vivipara, so then that means that I misidentified the one that I collected.

Both were viviparous. The one I collected has thicker and longer leaves and grew in clumps.

The one in the other pond grew more spread out with thinner leaves and more growth on the viviparous plants.

I really need a small junk camera that I can keep in the car with me for taking quick pictures.
1 week update: No visible change of the Eriocaulon.
Eleocharis appears to be starting to grow.
Drosera species are sending up new leaves. The large one has 5 new leaves and the small ones have 1-3.
The leaves's tentacles have not unfurled and they may never, but the leaves are too small to tell. Not sure if this is growth using stored sugars and nutrients or if the plant is capable of assimilating nutrients and carbon submersed.

The first week it had some sand move and uncap the clay which caused the water to go milky white. I changed the water and replaced the cap. Also decided to start adding 1ml 2.5% GA / gallon and EI dosing nutrients.

Check out the Drosera. I don't know if it can keep up the growth or what the final aquatic form will be, if it survives.
The D. intermedia had 8 leaves and was starting a flower shoot. The 8 leaves haven't died off yet but they're starting to look a bit unhappy now, but its sent out 5 new leaves (green due to lower light intensity) and the flower shoot is still growing.


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