Coelorachis tuberculosa - (Nash) Nash
Florida Jointgrass
Other Common Names: bumpy jointtail grass
Synonym(s): Manisuris tuberculosa Nash
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.139809
Element Code: PMPOA1J040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Coelorachis
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Coelorachis tuberculosa
Taxonomic Comments: Very similar to Coelorachis rugosa.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Dec1997
Global Status Last Changed: 04Nov1986
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Locally abundant, 35 occurrences in 9 counties within Florida, with habitat still available. Rare in Alabama. Threatened by logging and plantation establishment practices.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S1), Florida (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Coelorachis tuberculosa occurs in northern peninsular Florida, and continues west into the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: In Florida, 35 element occurrences as of October/1997. Numbers from Alabama not available.

Population Size Comments: Can be locally abundant.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threatened by disruption of hydroperiod and extensive soil disturbance or site preparation from logging or plantation establishment. Highly threatened by succession, and to a lesser extent by forest management practices, land-use conversion, and habitat fragmentation. Human disturbance (ATVs) has greatly altered habitat for many populations. (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Coelorachis tuberculosa occurs in northern peninsular Florida, and continues west into the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Covington (01039), Geneva (01061), Houston (01069)
FL Alachua (12001), Bay (12005), Clay (12019), Duval (12031), Gilchrist (12041), Hernando (12053), Lake (12069), Levy (12075), Marion (12083), Martin (12085), Okaloosa (12091), Pasco (12101), Polk (12105), Santa Rosa (12113), St. Lucie (12111)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Waccasassa (03110101)+, Lower Chattahoochee (03130004)+, Chipola (03130012)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+, Yellow (03140103)+, Blackwater (03140104)+, Pea (03140202)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A perennial, smooth, tall grass, the culms solitary or in small tufts, sometimes stocky-rhizomatous, the roots fibrous.
Technical Description: The following description is from Kral (1983). Culms: erect or ascending, 8-15 dm tall, slender but rather stiff, brittle, wand-like toward apex, terete, the internodes several, the lower internodes mostly covered by sheath, the middle and upper ones shortest, mostly exposed, green or pale purplish or reddish-green, 4-5 mm thick, the nodes swollen, the collar a narrow purplish band.

Leaves: distichous, toward base crowded, the sheathes there strongly overlapping, strongly keeled (folded sharply), and forming a chevron pattern, those upward on culm increasingly more distant, the larger ones less than 1/2 the leaf length; ligule a thin, erect, ragged margined scale 1.5-2.0 mm high; leaf blades erect or ascending, narrowly linear, to 6 dm long, proximally somewhat folded, upwardly flattened but midrib prominent throughout, toward apex gradually narrowing to a narrowly acute tip, the margins distally minutely scabrid, the surfaces when young green, but usually by flowering and fruiting time turning brown or maroon.

Inflorescence: culms branching from upper nodes, the ultimate peduncles branching from these branches, all branches ascending or arching slightly outward, the total inflorescense narrow, the many peduncles 5-10 cm long, sleeved half or more their slender length by tubular spathe sheaths, and each terminating in a narrowly cylindric raceme, this 3-6 cm long, straight or excurvate, the raceme rachis jointed, the joints thickish, rectangular in outline, ca. 3.0-3.5 mm long, separating at maturity, each in cross-section semicircular, thus the back rounded and ribbed, the inner face flattish or slightly concave, producing at its base 2 spikelets, 1 sessile and fertile, the other reduced, smaller, sterile, and borne on a stubby stalk (rachilla) similar to the rachis joint and of the same length.

Spikelets: paired as stated above, the sessile one 1-flowered, lance-triangular, flattened against the rachis joint and stalk of sterile spikelet, ca. 4 mm long, the first glume external, giving the spikelet its shape, firm, lustrous, nearly smooth or with a few widely spaced dome-shaped processes or transversely-oriented low, truncated tubercles on its back, its abruptly infolded margins narrow, scarious, and enfolding much of the rest of the spikelet; second glume thinner, about as long as the first glume but sharper pointed and keeled; fertile lemma very thin, pale, keeled, triangular, acute, about as long as the first glume; fertile palea also thin, slightly shorter than the lemma, blunter, the back slightly convex, not keeled; mature anthers 3, on shortish filaments, oblong, ca. 3 mm long, cinnamon-red; stalked spikelet similar to sessile one but smaller, and of only the 2 glumes.

Grain: oblong-linear, slightly shorter than the palea.

Diagnostic Characteristics: Coelorachis tuberculosa is most similar to C. rugosa (Nutt.) Ktze (Hitchcock 1951, Kral 1983). The two might well be considered varieties or mere forms of one species in that the only difference between them is the degree of rugosity of the backs of the glumes, which in M. rugosa are strongly and deeply transversely rugose. The raceme rachis joint in the latter is also medially contracted, a feature not held in M. tuberculosa (Kral 1983). The only differences between the two species are the straight rachis joints in C. tuberculosa and the smooth to obscurely ridged or tuberculate first glume of the sessile spikelet (Hitchcock 1951).
Reproduction Comments: The genus is listed by Hitchcock (1951) as having perfect flowers. Most grasses are wind-pollinated. Dispersal mechanisms in the family include wind (many species' seeds are plumed or winged) and various forms of animal transport.
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Habitat Comments: Coelorachis tuberculosa appears to be confined to karst areas in Florida and Alabama and there may be abundant locally on the margins or shallow of lakes and ponds or in wet savanna swales. Its shallow roots are in sandy peat or sandy peat-muck, a substratum that is usually at least moist, generally saturated. It may be in pure stands or scattered in an essentially grass-sedge meadow. Such areas are typically very unstable as regards to water level, during some seasons drying completely, during others filling up to surrounding forest. Thus, Coelorachis may be part of a large belt or expanse of waving grass-sedge or not much in evidence at all during times of extreme drought or extreme flooding. This makes meaningful population estimates difficult (Kral 1983).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 18Apr1991
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hardin, E.D., rev. C. Russell; rev. D. White
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 03Apr1992
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): A. WILDMAN & M.E. STOVER, TNC-HO

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to vascular plants of the Florida panhandle. Florida State Univ. Press, Tallahassee, Florida. 605 pp.

  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. 2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase. [Reprinted, 1971, in 2 vols., by Dover Publications, Incorporated, New York.]

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1991. Synonym names from 1991 checklist, as extracted by Larry Morse, TNC, June 1991.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project. 2002. A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service-Region 8, Natural Heritage Programs in the Southeast, NatureServe, and independent scientists to develop and review data on 1300+ regionally and locally rare species in the Southern Appalachian and Alabama region. Database (Access 97) provided to the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe, Durham, North Carolina.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Univ. Presses Florida, Gainesville. 472 pp.

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