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Description


Annual or perennial, scapigerous marsh herbs, monoecious. Leaves simple, rosulate or cauline, base sheathing. Inflorescence of involucral head, peduncles few to many, enclosed in basal sheath. Flowers unisexual, male or female mixed, or male in middle, female marginally. Male flowers: sepals 2 or 3,  petals 2 or 3. Stamens 4 or 6, inserted at corolla-base. Female flowers: sessile or stipitate, sepals 1-3, petals 0-3, free. Ovary superior, usually 3-, rarely 2-locular. Fruit a 3-celled, loculicidal  capsule. Seeds 2 or 3, smooth, striated, or ribbed. 

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Cells of seed coat vertically elongated Eriocaulon truncatum
1b. Cells of seed coat transversely elongated 2
2a. Male petals equal; female sepals linear or reduced to hairs; female petals absent Eriocaulon cinerium
2b. Male petals unequal or subequal; female sepals oblong; female petals 3 3
3a. Leaves and sheaths on peduncles usually turning to purple on drying; appendages of seeds ribbon-like or rectangular in shape Eriocaulon quiquangulare
3b. Leaves and sheaths on peduncles never turning to purple on drying; appendages of seeds setiform 4
4a. Involucral bracts obovate; floral bracts acuminate or cuspidate; male petals eglandular Eriocaulon luzulaefolium
4b. Involucral bracts oblong-spathulate; floral bracts subacute or subacuminate; male petals glandular Eriocaulon sollyanum (Eriocaulon trilobum)