This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial or rarely annual herbs, our species with much the habit of Eriocaulon. Stems very short. Leaves awl-shaped, tufted. Scapes slender, several-angled, erect, twisted in growth, sheathed at the base by a long acute bract. Flowers androgynous, in globular or hemispheric heads, each in the axil of a scale or the scales sometimes obsolete. Involucral bracts imbricated in 3 or 4 series. Perianth of 2 series, each of 2 or 3 segments in the stami-nate flowers, the outer segments distinct, the inner connate; stamens 2 or 3, inserted on the inner perianth and opposite its lobes. Pistillate flowers with the outer segments distinct, the inner often connate above the 2-celled, 2-3-ovuled ovary; style cleft into 2 or 3 entire or 2-cleft stigmas. Fruit a 2-3-celled, 2-3-seeded capsule, loculicidally dehiscent. [Greek, referring to the united petals of the pistillate flowers.]
About 80 species, mostly natives of tropical America. Only the following is known in the United States. Type species: Eriocaulon umbellatum Lam.
Eriocaulon flavidulum Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 166. 1803. Paepalanthus flavidulus Kunth, Enum. 3: 532. 1841. Dupatya flavidula Kuntze, Rev. Gen. PI. 745. 1891. S. flavidulus Ruhland, in Engler, Pflanzenreich 430: 256. 1903.
Leaves 3-5-nerved, 1'-2' long, awl-shaped, woolly at the base, glabrous or sparingly pubescent above. Scapes numerous, 5-angled, pubescent, 4-12' high; sheaths longer than the leaves, slightly inflated above, pubescent; involucral bracts straw-colored, glabrous, obtuse, oval, shining, somewhat pubescent at the base; receptacles glabrous or slightly pubescent; scales very thin, scarious-white, linear, slightly pubescent, about as long as the flowers; flowers about 1 1/4" high; perianth 6-parted; outer perianth of the staminate flowers stalked, woolly, the inner a campanubte tube with 3 stamens; pistillate flowers with both sets of perianth-segments distinct, the inner much narrower than the outer; style 3-parted.
Moist pine barrens, Virginia to Florida. March-July.