Shiratama-hoshikusa grows in colonies to produce flowers resembling small white spheres and look like a star studded night sky.   Its Japanese name (meaning white spherical flower like a star grass) comes from this scene.
The sand gravel layer is distributed to hill areas in Tokai Region.   There are many oligotrophic* marsh areas with nutrient-poor spring water.
This plant is an annual grass that grows only in such marsh areas in Aichi, Mie and Shizuoka Prefectures, which is in the early stage of in the plant succession.   Shiratama-hoshikusa is distributed surrounding Ise Bay.   Therefore, it is called the Circum Ise-Bay Elements.
The radical leaf is linear in shape and is 10 to 20cm in length.   In Autumn, it expands a few flower stems to be 20 to 40cm where the capitulum (head inflorescence) is formed at its tip.   The stem has five edges in a spiraling direction.   The capitulum is five to eight millimeters in diameter and consists of many flowers.   It has dense, white, rod-like hairs and is bumpy, such as a surface of the kompeito.   It has another name, Kompeito-gusa, due to its appearance.
Shiratama-hoshikusa is registered as an endangered species (the Vulnerable Plant).   Due to estate development, progress of vegetation succession, and introduction of alien species, the environment of marsh areas is changed and its population has decreased rapidly.

note) Konpeito
Konpeito is usually five to ten mm in diameter.   Each piece is covered with tiny bulges (its number is formally 24), which occur in the cooking process.   It usually takes seven to ten days to make konpeito, and they are handmade even today.   Konpeito is made by showering sugar water in a giant spinning tub called a dora.

* (Especially of a lake) having a deficiency of plant nutrients that is usually accompanied by an abundance of dissolved oxygen.
Classification: Eriocaulaceae Eriocaulon
Scientific name: Eriocaulon nudicuspe Maxim
Japanese name: Shiratama-hoshikusa
English Name: ---
Native locality: Tokai Region
Ecological description: Annual
RDB : Threatened, Vulnerable (VU)
Planting place: Marsh Garden
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