CPC Plant Profile: Mohlenbrock's Umbrella-sedge
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Plant Profile

Mohlenbrock's Umbrella-sedge (Cyperus grayoides)

  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cyperaceae
  • State: AR, IL, LA, MO, TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 142876
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

This sedge is fairly abundant in the few locations where it occurs. It requires open and deep sand dunes that are regularly disturbed by a variety of factors. While development has clearly hurt this population, as has fire suppression, the impact of grazing depends a great deal on the animal doing the grazing. Grazing by domestic animals appears to hurt these plants (NatureServe Explorer 2002) while grazing by native wildlife seems to provide a form of disturbance that benefits the plants (IL DNR 2002). Natural disturbances have always been highly variable in their occurrence and C. grayoides has adapted by producing seeds that remain viable for at least 15 years in seed banks (IL DNR 2002).This plant reaches a full height of 8-48cm tall, with fibrous and slender roots. The leaves of this plant are grayish green, and has inflorescences of unequal umbel with spikes. The spikes come in clusters of 2-7, while each spike has 3-24 spikelets. This plant blooms from July to September in most places, although in Texas the plant can bloom from May until November, depending on rainfall. The fruit matures from mid-July to mid-August.

Participating Institutions
Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Cyperus grayioides is fairly abundant where it occurs, in open areas of deep, disturbed sands. It is restricted to areas with periodic disturbance by fire, wind, and/or erosion, however, and is vulnerable to encroachment by woody or weedy plant species. Sand prairie habitats have declined severely as a result of agricultural and residential development, fire suppression, and grazing. Many populations of C. grayioides occur on public lands, in which fires and natural soil disturbances are more likely to occur; in Missouri, however, all populations of this species currently occur on private lands.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Residential development Agriculture Fire Suppression Reduction in native grazing ungulates (IL DNR 2002) Grazing by domesticated animals (NatureServe 2001)

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

C. grayoides is found in 6 counties in Illinois, 3 counties (with 4 populations) in Missouri, 21 counties in Texas, 4 parishes in Louisiana, and 4 sites in the National Texas Forest.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Restoration suitable habitat in several national forests in Texas is currently underway after severe storm damage that occurred in 1998. (Turner 1999) The Illinois DNR Division of Natural Heritage is monitoring a population located in a nature preserve in Mason County. (IL DNR 2002)


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Taxon Cyperus grayoides
Authority Mohlenbrock
Family Cyperaceae
CPC Number 1227
ITIS 501927
Common Names Illinois flatsedge | Mohlenbrock's umbrella sedge | umbrella-sedge | umbrella sedge
Associated Scientific Names Cyperus grayoides
Distribution Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas (NatureServe 2001).
State Rank
State State Rank
Arkansas S1
Illinois S2
Louisiana S3
Missouri S3
Texas S3S4

This sedge is found in disturbed dune areas including open dune sand to open sandy spaces in early successional sand prairie and blowouts in more established dunes. This species is occasionally found along disturbed roadsides but this is very rare (IL DNR 2002).

Ecological Relationships


Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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