Carex nigromarginata Schwein. - Black-edged Sedge


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Carex nigromarginata - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Acrocystis     


Dry, acid woods.




Mainly on the coastal plain from CT to FL and LA, rare but widespread in NY, and north in the Mississippi Valley to southern IN, southern IL, and southern MO; disjunct in southern Ontario.


Tufted, mat-forming perennial; stems of varying length to about 20 cm, mostly surpassed by the leaves, fibrillose at the base; leaves to 40 cm at maturity, mostly 2-4 mm wide; terminal spike staminate, 5-8 mm; pistillate spikes 2-3, 4-7 mm, sessile, all closely proximal to the staminate spike, none basal; lowest bracts often surpassing the inflorescence; staminate scales short-cuspidate to somewhat obtuse; pistillate scales mostly dark purple except the narrow midrib, short-cuspidate to merely acute, wider than and from a little shorter to a little longer than the mostly concealed perigynia; perigynia 6-15, dull green or yellowish-green, sparsely pubescent, 3-4 mm, slightly flattened, ellipsoid above a stipe-like base, 2-keeled, abruptly contracted into a slender beak 1 mm; achene rounded-trigonous.


Fruiting late April to early June

Wetland indicator: UPL

An early blooming species, usually shedding its perigynia by late May. Carex albicans is similar but usually lacking purple on the pistillate scales (or the purple region very narrow); it also has longer culms (usually more than 20 cm), stem bases scarcely fibrous, and staminate peduncles 0.4-9.9 mm (vs. 0.3-0.8 mm). 

A species only described in 2006, C. reznicekii Werier is apparently quite similar but with narrower leaves and a shorter staminate spike.


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.


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