Carex foenea Willd. - Bronze-headed Oval Sedge


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Carex foenea - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Ovales


Wet to dry areas.




Labrador and Newfoundland to Yukon and British Columbia, south to CT, NY, PA, MI, and ID.


Tufted perennial to 1 m; aphyllopodic. Leaves 3-5 mm wide, shorter than stems, bracts inconspicuous. Spikes 3-15, gynaecandrous, 6-25 mm, sessile in a loose, often lax spike that is sometimes interrupted below. Pistillate scales equally but narrower than perigynia; perigynia planoconvex, smooth, to 5 mm long and 2.2 mm wide, nerveless or few nerved ventrally, strong 3-8 nerved dorsally, widest below, beak flattened and sometimes obscure; margin winged, the wings finely serrulate-ciliolate, not expanded above the middle. Achene lenticular, 1.5-2 mm; stigmas 2.


Fruiting late spring to early summer

Wetland indicator: UPL

The specific epithet means "hay", perhaps referring to the color of the spikes at maturity. Carex argyrantha is similar but strongly 5-8 nerved on the ventral side of the perigynium. The USDA lumps this species with Carex siccata, but according to several sources it is a clearly distinct species with long-creeping rhizomes.


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


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




Michael Hough 2010