Rhynchospora knieskernii

Common Names:
Kneiskern's beaked sedge, Knieskern's beaked rush
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
New England Wild Flower Society
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The conservation of Rhynchospora knieskernii is fully sponsored.
Elizabeth J. Farnsworth contributed to this Plant Profile.


Rhynchospora kneiskernii is a grass-like plant of the Sedge family that grows only in the Pinelands of New Jersey. A short-lived perennial, the plant inhabits disturbed, open, early-successional wet areas in gravel and clay pits, power-line and railroad rights-of-way, recent burns, muddy swales, and cleared areas. The largest populations occur on natural bog iron deposits in the Pine Barrens. Periodic disturbances and fluctuating groundwater levels appear necessary to perpetuate its existence, as it is a poor competitor with other plants. Thus, succession to shrubs and forest threaten the plant, as well as irreversible disturbances brought by land development, trampling and soil compaction cause by intensive off-road vehicle use, and lowered water levels caused by water withdrawal and drought.

Research and Management Summary:
While little research has been performed directly on this species, a recovery plan has been written for this federally threatened plant. Unfortunately, most populations of this plant are located on private land. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working to maintain the health of the species through management of federally-owned lands where it is found.

Plant Description:
Rhynchospora kneiskernii grows to 60 cm in height, with many slender stems issuing from the base. Its narrow leaves (only 1 to 2 mm wide) often roll inward. Numerous small spikelets of flowers occur at widely separated intervals along the stem. The plant is called "beaked-rush" because the beak at the base of the persistent style is nearly half as long as the 1.3 mm-long fruit (achene) itself.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research