Carex pauciflora Lightf. - Few-flowered Sedge


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Carex pauciflora - (image 1 of 2)



Family: Cyperaceae


Section Leucoglochin


Sphagnum bogs and poor fens.




Circumboreal, south in North America to CT, PA, WV, MI, MN, and WA.


Perennial; stems 10-40 cm, solitary or few together from long, slender rhizomes, aphyllopodic; main leaves 1-2 mm wide, shorter than the culm; spike 1, bractless, to 1 cm; staminate scales 2-4, forming a terminal cone; pistillate scales lanceolate, 4-6 mm, pale brown, soon deciduous; perigynia few, mostly 2-6, soon deflexed, deciduous at maturity, light green at first, becoming stramineous or pale brown, finely many-nerved, 6-7.5 mm, slender and long-tapering, spongy at the base, nearly round in cross section; achene trigonous, not filling the perigynium, continuous with the exserted, persistent style; rachilla obsolete.


Fruiting June to August

Wetland indicator: OBL

Unusual among sedges in that the perigynia are ejected via a catapult mechanism, thus exhibiting ballistic seed dispersal. Easy to identify though often overlooked amongst other bog vegetation.


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