Eriocaulon L.

Eriocaulon asteroides S.M.Phillips

This species is accepted, and its native range is SE. Nigeria to W. Cameroon.


Phillips, S. M. & Mesterházy, A. 2015. Revision of small ephemeral species of Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae) in West Africa with long involucral bracts. Kew Bulletin 70: 5. DOI

Vulnerable VUD2 (Cheek et al. 2000: 78).
Nigeria (near Cameroon border), W Cameroon.
On outcrops of basalt pavement in montane grassland, forming colonies in shallow boggy soil and running water in the cracks between blocks of basalt; 1700 – 2500 m.
Morphology General Habit
Small rosulate ephemeral
Morphology Leaves
Leaves linear-subulate, 0.75 – 1.5 cm long, c. 1 mm wide, acute
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Female flowers: sepals 3, dark grey, subequal, narrowly oblong, lightly concave, glabrous or a few hyaline hairs along midline, tips lacerate; petals subequal, narrowly oblong-spathulate, median 1.5 mm long, all pilose with spreading hyaline hairs on centre blade, tips glandular, minutely emarginate; ovary sessile, black Flowers trimerous, 1.3 – 1.6 mm long, sessile Male flowers: sepals 3, dark grey, narrowly oblong, almost free or variably connate into spathe, tips lacerate; petals tiny, glandular, these and filaments fleshy and forming flattened disc on capitulum surface; anthers 6, black
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Receptacle
Receptacle shortly pilose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Floral bracts similar but shorter and darker grey, 1.8 – 2.3 mm long, concave, sharply acuminate Involucral bracts whitish-buff or flushed grey, narrowly lanceolate, 3.0 – 3.8 mm long, membranous, glossy, long-acuminate, in 1 – 2 series
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Capitulum
Capitulum 5 – 7 mm wide, few-flowered, involucral bracts radiating star-like much beyond head of flowers
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Scape
Scapes up to c. 10, 1.0 – 2.5 cm high, 0.2 – 0.3 mm thick, 3 – 4-ribbed; sheaths equalling leaves, inflated, limb soon splitting
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed ellipsoid, c. 0.5 mm long, brown, smooth The cells of the seed surface are transversely elongated, with the anticlinal walls uniformly thickened without projections The seeds thus appear smooth at low magnifications.
Eriocaulon asteroides is a very small species with short scapes but relatively large starry capitula. The translucent glossy involucral bracts with long-extended pointed tips radiating from the darker floral disc are characteristic. The raised fleshy flattened male flowers on the capitulum surface are also noteworthy.

Eriocaulon asteroides is known only from the mountains straddling the Nigeria/Cameroon border, often in association with Utricularia scandens Benj. It is also commonly associated with E. parvulum S. M. Phillips, another small ephemeral species endemic to the same area and same specialised habitat, but not included in this paper as it lacks long involucral bracts. Indeed, E. asteroides and E. parvulum occur so regularly together that several of the rather few collections of these two species are mixed.

Type: Nigeria, Tuley 2052 (holotype K [K000346115]).

Native to:

Cameroon, Nigeria

Eriocaulon asteroides S.M.Phillips appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Jan 1, 2004 Pollard, B.J. [700], Cameroon K000746173 No
Tuley, P. [2052], Nigeria K000346115 holotype Yes

First published in Kew Bull. 53: 943 (1998)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (2001). World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS E-F: 1-50919.
  • Phillips, S.M. (2011). Flore du Cameroun 38: 1-35. Ministère de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche scientifique (Mesres), Yaoundé.


Kew Bulletin

  • 1998: 943
  • Ansari, R. & Balakrishnan, N. P. (2009). The Family Eriocaulaceae in India (revised edition). Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.
  • Bongard, A. G. H. (1831). Essaimonographique sur les espècesd’Eriocaulon du Brésil. Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg, Sér. 6, Sci. Math. 1: 635.
  • Brown, N. E. (1901). Eriocaulaceae. In: D. Oliver (ed.), Flora of Tropical East Africa 8: 237. Lovell Reeve & Co., London.
  • Cheek, M., Onana, J.-M. & Pollard, B. J. (2000). The Plants of Mount Oku and the Ijim Ridge, Cameroon. A Conservation Checklist. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Hutchinson, J. (1936). Flora of West Tropical Africa Ed. 1, 2: 326. Crown Agents for the Colonies, London.
  • Körnicke, F. A. (1854 publ. 1856). Monographiascripta de Eriocaulaceis. Linnaea 27: 561 – 692.
  • Körnicke, F. A. (1867). Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugduno-Batavi iii. 240.
  • Lecomte, H. (1908). Procédés de dissémination des fruits et des graines chez les Ériocaulacées. J. Bot.(Morot) sér. 2, 1: 129 – 136.
  • Lecomte, H. (1908, publ. 1909). Bull. Soc. Bot. France 55: 643, 647.
  • Meikle, R. D. (1968a). Notes on the Eriocaulaceae of West Tropical Africa. Kew Bull.: 141 – 144.
  • Meikle, R. D. (1968b). Eriocaulaceae. In: F. N. Hepper (ed.), Flora of West Tropical Africa, Ed. 2, 3: 57 – 67. Crown Agents, London.
  • Moldenke, H. N. (1946a). The known geographic distribution of the members of the Eriocaulaceae. Moldenke, New York.
  • Moldenke, H. N. (1946b). Nomenclatural notes III. Phytologia 2: 129 – 151.
  • Moldenke, H. N. (1950). Additional notes on the Eriocaulaceae. V. Phytologia 3: 382 – 400.
  • Phillips, S. M. (1996). Some new African taxa of Eriocaulon, with notes on their taxonomic position. Kew Bull. 51: 625 – 647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  • Phillips, S. M. (1998). Two new species of Eriocaulon from West Africa. Kew Bull. 53: 943 – 947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  • Rafinesque, C. S. (1832). Atlantic J. 121. Philadelphia.GoogleScholar
  • Ruhland, W. O. E. (1899). Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 27: 84.
  • Ruhland, W. O. E. (1903). Eriocaulaceae. In: A. Engler, Pflanzenreich 13 (4, 30): 1 – 294. W. Engelmann, Leipzig.
  • Van Heurck, H. (1870). Observationesbotanicae et descriptiones plantarum novarumherbarii van Heurckiani 1. F. Baggerman, Anvers, R. Friedlander & Sohn, Berlin.
  • Zhang, Z. (1999). Monographie der GattungEriocaulon in Ostasien. DissertationesBotanicae Band 313. J. Cramer. Berlin, Stuttgart.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Phillips, S.M. (2011). Flore du Cameroun 38: 1-35. Ministère de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche scientifique (Mesres), Yaoundé.

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