Eriocaulon L.

Eriocaulon remotum Lecomte

This species is accepted, and its native range is Sierra Leone to NW. Ivory Coast.


Eriocaulaceae, R. D. Meikle. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3:1. 1968

Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Scape
Scapes rather numerous, usually less than 11/4 in. high
Morphology Leaves
Leaves relatively broad and opaque
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Capitula 3-4 mm. diam., fuscous, subglobose at maturity
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts conspicuous, stramineous, blunt.


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

Least concern (LC). A scattered species, usually at upland altitudes. Its habitat is not threatened by human activities.
Guinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast; up to c. 1500 m.
Damp soil over flat rock and on thin wet sandy soil over rock in open places in fields, usually above 450 m but extending to low levels near the coast in Guinea. It has also been recorded from ephemeral flushes on inselbergs in northwestern Ivory Coast.
Morphology General Habit
Rosulate ephemeral
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subulate to broadly lanceolate, 0.5 – 2.5 cm long, 1 – 4 mm wide, spongy, closely veined, tapering to acute tip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers dimerous, 1.3 – 1.5 mm long, strongly laterally compressed, subsessile Female flowers wider than long; sepals 2, overlapping, broadly obtriangular to suborbicular, gibbous, strongly keeled, glabrous, keel broadly winged, wing c. 0.3 mm wide, upper margin toothed, flanks with translucent patch, seed visible within, margins broad, flaring out, seed held within by short hyaline hairs on lower inner margins, tip broad, truncate; petals slightly unequal, broadly spathulate, spongy, eglandular, a few small white papillae scattered on upper part and margin, tips rounded Male flowers: sepals 2, connate to the middle or above into an infundibular spathe, free lobes oblong-falcate in profile, lightly keeled, glabrous, obliquely truncate; petals tiny, largest c. 0.2 mm, eglandular, a few white papillae present; anthers 4, black
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Receptacle
Receptacle glabrous or with a few hyaline hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Floral bracts pale or flushed grey, broadly obovate to subrotund, concave, scarious, glabrous, tips rounded Involucral bracts straw-coloured to pale grey-brown, narrowly oblong to narrowly obovate, 1.7 – 3.0 mm long, shallowly concave, scarious, tips rounded, spreading in two series slightly beyond head of flowers, spreading or reflexing at maturity
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Capitulum
Capitulum 2.8 – 4.5 mm wide, hemispherical at first, becoming slightly dome-shaped at maturity, yellowish- or whitish-brown tinged grey in centre, flowers visible among loosely arranged bracts
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Scape
Scapes up to 50 or more, radiating to form small dome-shaped mound, 0.5 – 5.0 cm high, slightly longer than leaves, 0.3 – 0.5 mm thick, stiff, 3 – 4-ribbed; sheaths subequalling leaves, loose, obliquely slit with obtuse, splitting limb
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
The cells of the seed surface are transversely elongated, with all the anticlinal walls uniformly thickened and covered in papillae, giving rise to a white-reticulate pattern. Seed ellipsoid, c. 0.45 mm long, reddish-brown, white-reticulate

Eriocaulon remotum has a stouter habit than the other species considered here, with up to 50 stiff scapes radiating to form a dome from a rosette of broad spongy leaves. The pale yellowish or brownish capitula are subglobose rather than star-like because the involucral bracts have rounded tips and only protrude shortly around the capitulum base. The flowers are strictly dimerous with subequal eglandular petals.

In his protologue Lecomte lists three collections from the Fouta Djalon region of Guinea, all in the Paris herbarium (Chevalier 18810; Chevalier 18770 [17870 in error] p.p.; Pobéguin 1880 ter.). There are 2 sheets of Chevalier 18810. One sheet is selected here as lectotype. The other sheet, labelled “Chevalier 18810bis” is Eriocaulon afzelianumKörn. There are also 2 sheets of Chevalier 18770, one [P00458837] is E. remotum and the other [P00464223] is E. pulchellum.

The seldom-collected annual species Eriocaulon maculatumSchinz from southern tropical Africa has the same seed coat patterning as E. remotum, and also similar suborbicular sepals and eglandular petals. However, it differs by its trimerous flowers, shorter involucral bracts and different habit.

The female sepals are strongly keeled, suborbicular with overlapping margins, with a translucent patch on the flanks and a broadly winged keel. Small hairs within the sepal margin trap the seed within the sepal when it falls at maturity, the seed eventually breaking free through the disintegrating hyaline patch. Sepals like this occur in a number of species throughout Africa, including Eriocaulon fulvum N. E. Br. in West Africa, and appear to be adapted as flotation devices for water dispersal as described by Lecomte (1908, publ. 1909).

Type: Guinea (Conakry), Fouta Djalon, plateau de Dalaba-Diaguissa, 1100 – 1300 m, 8 Oct. 1907, Chevalier 18810 [P00458836] (lectotype P, selected here).

Native to:

Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Sierra Leone

Eriocaulon remotum Lecomte appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Jan 1, 1997 Porembski, S. [1527], Côte d'Ivoire K000384272 No
Jan 1, 1997 Porembski, S. [1534], Côte d'Ivoire K000384271 No
Jan 1, 1997 Dörrstock, S. [102], Côte d'Ivoire K000384273 No
Pitot, A. [s.n.], Guinea K000384269 No
Schnell, R. [7372], Guinea K000384268 No
Deighton, F.C. [2178], Sierra Leone K000384270 No

First published in Bull. Soc. Bot. France 55: 643 (1909)

Accepted by

  • Boudet, G., Lebrun, J.P. & Demange, R. (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali: 1-465. Etudes d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux.
  • Govaerts, R. (2001). World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS E-F: 1-50919.


Kew Bulletin

  • 1908, publ. 1909: 643
  • 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 (1968b: 64).
  • 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.

Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • in Bull. Soc. Bot. Fr. 55: 644 (1909).

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Boudet, G., Lebrun, J.P. & Demange, R. (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali: 1-465. Etudes d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux.

  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Bulletin

    Kew Bulletin

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.