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FLIP

FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Scleria lacustris

Common Name(s): Wright's nutrush

Origin

Africa and Neotopics.

Ecological Impact

Freshwater marshes and lake shorelines characterized by seasonal water level changes appear most vulnerable to invasion. Juvenile plants adapt readily to the influx of water during the rainy summer months. Birds and airboats are suspected to aid in dispersal of the shiny nutlets, although transport by water through drainage systems could be most important, leaving vast conservation marshes of southern Florida at risk. Listed as a category I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC).

Description

Sedge that may grow up to 200 cm in height. Nutlets oval to elliptic and somewhat triangular in shape. The white to gray, hard, and porcelain- like nutlet contains only a single seed. Roots are dark red, stout, and shallowly anchored in the substrate. Stems can be as thick as 2.5 cm at the base and three angled throughout. All stems are streaked with red, especially at the base. Leaves are pleated, smooth, and shiny. A single leaf is up to 2.5 cm in width and 60 cm in length and tapering to a point. Prickles along the lead and stem margins. 

Identification Tips

Not to be confused with Florida native plants S. reticularis and S. verticillata, which can be found in the same environment. S. reticularis and S. verticillata differ from S. lacustris in size, S. reticularis and S. verticillata mature height compares to the seedling height of S. lacustris, and differing in seed texture; the native species are textured, while Wright's nutrush is smooth.

History

Wright's nutrush was first recorded for Florida in 1988. Populations were developing in a broad arc arcoss the south central Florida Peninsula.

Range

Extends to more than twenty natural areas in seven counties (Brevard, Hendry, Indian River, Lee, Osceola, Okeechobee, and Polk) and within four major river basins of the state (St. Johns, Kissimmee, Caloosahatchee, and Big Cypress).

Management Strategies

Do not plant. Remove root system and seedlings.

Photos

Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants