Carex canescens L. - Silvery Sedge


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Carex canescens - (image 1 of 3)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Glareosae     


Swamps and bogs.




Circumboreal, south to VA, OH, MN, AZ, and CA.


Tufted perennial from short rhizomes; stems 20-60 cm; leaves grayish-green, clustered near the base, often shorter than the culms, flat, 1.5-3.5 mm wide; spikes 4-8, gynaecandrous, 5-10 mm, sessile, the upper approximate, the lower usually somewhat remote, gray-green, becoming pale-stramineous; pistillate scales mostly shorter than the perigynia; perigynia mostly (10-)15-30, ascending, mostly 1.8-2.5 mm, planoconvex, not thin-edged, somewhat corky-thickened proximally, elliptic or elliptic-ovate, with a minute beak apiculation to 0.5 mm, finely nerved on both faces, the ventral nerves fewer than the dorsal; dorsal suture short and inconspicuous, to 0.4(-0.7) mm or nearly obsolete; achene lenticular, filling the perigynium.


Fruiting June to August

Wetland indicator: OBL

A similar species, C. brunnescens, has fewer perigynia per spike (mostly 5-10, up to 15) lacking ventral nerves or the ventral nerves obscure. In C. brunnescens the perigynia tend to be more spreading and therefore they more noticeably interrupt the outline of the spike than they do in C. canescens


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY




Michael Hough 2018