Carex gynandra Schwein. - Nodding Sedge


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Carex gynandra - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Phacocystis


Synonymous with C. crinita var. gynandra


Peaty marshes, wet woods, swales, moist thickets.




Newfoundland to northeast MN, south to WI and VA, and in mountains to northern GA.


Tufted, perennial to 1.5 m; stems sharp-angled and rough, exceeding the leaves, lower leaves scale-like; leaves 4-12 mm wide with rough margins; sheaths hispidulous; staminate spikes 2-3, terminal, 4-6 cm long, sometimes pistillate distally; pistillate spikes 2-6, thin, nodding, long-awned, up to 10 cm long; perigynia elliptic to ovate, acute, somewhat compressed, scarcely or not at all inflated, 2.4-4.2 mm long, a little longer than wide, unnerved with a pointed tip; scales pale brown or coppery with a pale midrib extending into a long, flat awn exceeding the perigynia.


Fruiting June to August

Wetland indicator: OBL

Most readily distinguished from the similar C. crinita by the scabrous lower portion of the culm (in C. crinita the lower part of the culm is smooth) and by the acuminate to rarely truncate apex of the body of the scales (in C. crinita the apex of the body of the scales is often retuse or sometimes truncate). Carex gynandra usually occurs in more acidic soils than C. crinita, although the two are sometimes found growing together.

Carex mitchelliana M.A. Curtis is a rare species similar to C. crinita and C. gynandra that occurs from MA to northern FL, west to PA, KY, and AL. It has scabrous lower leaf sheaths and flattened, elliptic perigynia like C. gynandra but the perigynia are densely granular-papillate throughout unlike the other two species which have perigynia that are smooth to weakly papillate distally.


Ball, P.W. and A.A. Reznicek. 2002. Carex, In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, Eds. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 23. Oxford University Press, New York.


Curtis, L. 2006. Woodland Carex of the upper Midwest. Lake Villa, IL.


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 2009