Carex leptonervia Fern. - Few-nerved Wood Sedge


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Carex leptonervia - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Laxiflorae     


Wet-mesic swamps, moist woods.




Newfoundland to northeast MN, south to NJ, PA, IN, and WI, and south in mountains to NC and TN.


Stems tufted, to 60 cm; basal sheaths brown; leaves to 1 cm wide; upper bract-sheaths minutely serrulate on the angles; terminal spike staminate, to 1.6 cm, sessile or short-pedunculate, sometimes slightly surpassing the uppermost pistillate spike, often exceeded by the uppermost bract; pistillate spikes 2-4, 1-2 cm, sessile or short-peduncled, none basal; second bract often exceeding all the spikes; pistillate scales usually short-awned or apiculate; perigynia 5-14, to 4.1 mm, crowded, 2-ribbed but otherwise nerveless or obscurely nerved, obovoid and obtusely trigonous, contracted abruptly to a short, entire beak; achene obtusely trigonous; stigmas 3.


Fruiting May to June

Wetland indicator: FAC

Section Laxiflorae includes the wood sedges and is a monophyletic group. Three characteristics separate this species from the others: 1) Perigynia not sharply trigonous; 2) none of the spikes basal; and 3) Perigynia with 2 prominent ribs with the remaining 8-18 obscure or absent. The evident finer nerves on the perigynia of other species may not be readily apparent in fresh specimens though they become more apparent upon drying.


Bryson, C. T. 1980. A Revision of the North American Carex Sect. Laxiflorae (Cyperaceae). Ph.D. dissertation. Mississippi State University


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