Page author: Don Knoke
Rhynchospora alba
white beakrush

Distribution: Alaska to California, east to Idaho, and throughout northeastern United states.

Habitat: Sphagnum bogs and other wet places, lowlands to mid-elevations in the mountains

Flowers: July - August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Densely tufted perennial, the slender culms 1.5-5 dm. tall.


Cauline leaves several, the lowest reduced to scales, the others slender and elongate, channeled to flat.


Inflorescence of 1-3 compact, head-like clusters 5-15 mm. wide, the terminal one the largest, subtended by a single bract about equal to the head; the lateral ones, when present, on peduncles and arising from the sheaths of leaves; spikelets light brown, 3.5-5 mm. long, 2-flowered; perianth of 10-12 stiff bristles, longer than the achene; scales subtending the flowers scarious, with 1-2 empty scales below and above the flowers; stamens usually 3; style bifid, the branches elongate.


Achenes lenticular, bi-convex, 1.5-2 mm. long, tapered to a narrow base and capped by an elongate, narrow tubercle.

Accepted Name:
Rhynchospora alba (L.) Vahl
Publication: Enum. Pl. 2: 236. 1805 (as Rynchospora). 1805.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Dichromena alba (L.) J.F. Macbr.
Phaeocephalum album (L.) House
Rhynchospora luguillensis Britton
Schoenus albus L.
Triodon albus (L.) Farw.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Rhynchospora alba in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Rhynchospora alba checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Rhynchospora alba atlas page.

CalPhotos: Rhynchospora alba photos.

USDA Plants: Rhynchospora alba information.

15 photographs:
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