Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carex aquatilis Wahlenb.
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: July-August
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its 2 or more separate male spikes, its
obscurely nerved, nearly beakless perigynia, and its leafy stems up to 5 feet tall.
- Habitat: Around ponds, in pools, marshes, often in standing water.
- Habit: Tufted perennial herb from slender stolons, forming large clumps or a turf.
- Stems: Upright, triangular, up to 5 feet tall, smooth or rough to the touch, usually glaucous,
often with dried leaf bases from the previous year's growth.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat or channeled, sometimes rough to the touch on the margins and the
midvein, glaucous, up to 1/3 inch wide, as long as or longer than the stems.
- Flowers: Borne in spikes, the male spikes 2-5, separate from the 3-5 female spikes that
have some male flowers at the tip; male spikes slender, up to 2 inches long; female spikes
cylindric, upright, up to 4 inches long, up to 1/3 inch thick; female scales usually purplish,
rounded or pointed at the tip, shorter or longer than the perigynia.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Borne in perigynia, the perigynia flat, elliptic to narrowly obovate, up to 1/6 inch
long, scarcely nerved, with a very minute beak; styles 2.
- Fruits: Achenes lenticular.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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