Carex normalis Mack. - Greater Straw Sedge


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Carex normalis - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Ovales  


Moist to somewhat dry fields, thickets, open woods.




ME to MI and SD, south to NC, OH, MO, and OK.


Tufted perennial, 30-80 cm, leafy-stemmed; aphyllopodic; leaves 2.5-6 mm wide, shorter than the stem; sheaths loosely clasping, hyaline ventrally, green mottled; inflorescence 3-5 cm; spikes 5-10, gynaecandrous, subglobose, 6-9 mm, sessile, loosely aggregated or the lowermost sometimes separate; pistillate scales ovate, much shorter than the perigynia, hyaline, slightly brown with green midvein, acute or obtuse; perigynia ascending, planoconvex, ovate, green or pale greenish-brown, 3.3-4.4 mm, 2-2.5 times as long as wide, broadest at 1/4 to 1/3 their length, finely nerved dorsally, lightly or obscurely nerved ventrally, gradually tapering to a flat, serrulate beak; achene lenticular, 1.5-2 mm long and 1 mm wide.


Fruiting June to August

Wetland indicator: FACW

Carex tincta Fernald is similar but has brown scales with pale margins, leaf sheaths tightly clasping and evenly colored, and blades 1.5-3.5 mm wide; Gleason & Cronquist speculated that it may be derived from a hybrid of C. normalis and C. foenea. It is most common in New England.


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