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Genus of the Week

Week of July 26 - August 1

flower line - 2.2 K
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:


Subclass: Monocotyledoneae
Superorder: Commelinidae
Order: Eriocaulales
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 nuisance there.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Eriocaulon species:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  2. 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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