Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Slough Sedge (Carex atherodes)
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-July.
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this species are the separate male and female spikes, the sharply 2-toothed beak of the perigynium, and the hairy leaves.
- Habitat: Swamps, wet meadows.
- Habit: Perennial herb with thickened rootstocks.
- Stems: Erect, smooth or sometimes rough to the touch, sharply triangular, up to 5 feet tall.
- Leaves: Elongated, rough to the touch, usually hairy at least on the lower surface, up to 1/2 inch broad.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne in separate spikes; the male spikes 2-6 in number, usually on long stalks; the female spikes 3-5, cylindrical, on very short stalks or on no stalks at all, up to 4 inches long.
- Scales: Broadly lanceolate, awn-tipped, shorter than the perigynia.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Enclosed in a perigynium; each perigynium broadly lanceoloid, smooth, many-nerved, gradually tapering to a slender, 2-toothed beak, up to 1/6 inch long.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, smooth.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl. Flora of the Pacific Northwest by Hitchcock and Cronquist (1973) does not attribute this species to California, although the National Wetlands Inventory lists it for area 10.
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