Genus of the Week
Week of July 26 - August 1
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the
Conservation New England web site, entitled
"The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".
This week's genus:
Family: Eriocaulaceae (The Pipewort Family)
Number of Species: 400
Root: From "erio", meaning wooly, and "caul", meaning stem.
The genus Eriocaulon is part of a family that is made up of mostly aquatic and wetland
species. Plants in this genus can easily be recognized by their inflorescences, which are small
globes of tightly packed flowers surrounded by tiny leaf-like bracts. These flower heads rest on slim
stems which arise from a basal rosette of leaves. Most species in this genus are found in
tropical regions, but there is at least one, E. septangulare, found in New England.
Other species are known to grow as weeds in rice paddies, but are not considered to be a large
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Eriocaulon species:
here to see a photo and information for E. decangulare (Tenangle Pipewort),
from the PLANTS database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Click here to see a photo
of E. nudicuspe, a plant indigenous only to Tokai, Japan.
- See an image of
pollen from E. aquaticum, brought to you by the folks in the Department of Plant
Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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