Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Rhynchospora colorata (Whitetop sedge)
Page, Lee

Rhynchospora colorata

Rhynchospora colorata (L.) H. Pfeiffer

Whitetop Sedge, White-topped Sedge, Starrush Whitetop, Star Sedge, Star Rush

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Synonym(s): Dichromena colorata, Rhynchospora drummondiana, Rhynchospora stellata, Schoenus coloratus

USDA Symbol: RHCO7

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N)

Spikelets in a round cluster enclosed at base by a set of 5-6 long, drooping, white bracts with green tips; stem triangular.

The striking whitish bracts on this sedge make it appear as if it has showy, daisy-like flowers. These bracts attract insect pollinators, which is unusual in this primarily wind-pollinated family. The genus name is from the Greek rhynchos ("beak") and spora ("seed") and alludes to the beaked achenes. The showier Sand-swamp White-top Sedge (R. latifolia), with at least seven longer, wider bracts, is most conspicuous in wet pinelands and savannas; it occurs on the coastal plain from North Carolina to Florida and west to Mississippi. Both species are sometimes placed in the genus Dichromena.


From the Image Gallery

37 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 28 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas.
Native Habitat: Frequent in swales, ditches and wet places in southeast Texas, Rio Grande Plains, Edwards Plateau, to Trans-Pecos. Grows in sand, loam, or clay, poor drainage okay. Sometimes grows submerged in shallow water.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Conditions Comments: Star sedge is a showy addition to a bog or water garden. It will also grow in regular garden soil with plenty of water. Divide the plant when the clumps get too big. Cut star sedge back in winter to make room for fresh spring growth.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-TS-1 Collected 2009-07-27 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Research Literature

Reslit 2628 - Suitability of monocots for rearing alien coconut pest Brontispa longissima (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) (2011) W. Sugeno, K. Kawazu, S. Takano, S. Nakamura, A. M...
Reslit 2629 - Interaction between algae and seed germination in tropical dune slack species: a facilitation process (1998) G. Vazquez, P. Moreno-Casasola, O. Barrera

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rhynchospora colorata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhynchospora colorata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhynchospora colorata


Record Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back