Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Prickly Bog Sedge
Carex atlantica L.H. Bailey
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: The spikes of this species are all alike, with 8-40 female flowers at the top and
the few male flowers at the bottom. The perigynia are spreading at maturity with beaks
conspicuously 2-toothed at tip. The midnerve of the female scales does not reach the tip of the scale.
- Habitat: Bogs, swamps, wet woods.
- Habit: Perennial herb from thickened rootstocks.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched, rather stout, triangular, up to 1 1/4 feet tall, rough to the
touch, at least beneath the spikes.
- Leaves: Elongated, pale green, up to 1/6 inch wide, rough to the touch.
- Flowers: Borne in spikes, the 3-6 spikes arranged in a more or less interrupted head up to
3 inches long, each spike 1/3-1/2 inch long, with 8-40 spreading perigynia at the top and
fewer male flowers at the bottom; female scales pale brown or even whitish, rounded or
pointed at the tip, the midnerve not reaching the tip, about 1/2 as long as the perigynia.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Borne in perigynia, the perigynia spreading, smooth, green to yellow, ovoid to
triangular, spongy at the base, strongly nerved front and back, 1/8-1/6 inch long, tapering to a
2-toothed beak; styles 2.
- Fruits: Achenes lenticular.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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