Carex echinata Murray - Star Sedge


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Carex echinata - (image 1 of 3)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Stellulatae


Swamps, bogs, fens, and other wet places.




Circumboreal, south to VA and in mountains to NC, IN, IA, UT, and CA. Eastern plants are ssp. echinata


Tufted perennial; stems 10-60 cm, scabrous on the angles above, aphyllopodic; leaves plicate, mostly 1-2.5 mm wide; spikes 3-7, sessile, small and few-flowered, the terminal one with a slender staminate base, some of the lateral ones often wholly pistillate; bracts small and inconspicuous; perigynia 5-15, crowded, widely spreading or the lower reflexed, green or tan, planoconvex, spongy-thickened at the base, narrowly lance-triangular to more often lance-ovate or even ovate, 2.8-3.5(-4) mm, 1.8-3.2 times as long as wide, often serrulate-margined distally, with a prominent, slender, serrulate-margined, sharply bidentate beak 1-1.6 mm, half as long to almost as long as the body; achene lenticular.


Fruiting late May to July

Wetland indicator: OBL

This species is highly variable and can have spikes with few or several perigynia, and the spikes can be congested or widely spaced on the culm. Similar to C. interior and C. atlantica which have shorter or relatively wider perigynia and the beak only up to half as long as the body.


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