Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Little Prickly Sedge
Carex echinata Murray
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: July-September
- Field Marks: This sedge has all spikes alike, with the female at the top and the male at
bottom, or sometimes all but the uppermost spike entirely female. The perigynia are
spreading. The stems are nearly thread-like.
- Habitat: Wet soil, often in peat.
- Habit: Tufted perennial herb from thickened rootstocks.
- Stems: Upright, nearly thread-like, triangular, up to 1 1/2 feet tall, smooth except just
beneath the spikes.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat or sometimes folded, usually smooth, up to 1/6 inch wide, shorter
than the stems.
- Flowers: Borne in spikes, with 2-5 spikes arranged in a more or less interrupted head up to
1 1/2 inches long, each spike up to 1/4 inch long, with spreading perigynia at the tip and very
few male flowers at the bottom, or all but the uppermost spikelet entirely female; female
scales pale brown, rounded at the tip, about 1/2 as long as the perigynia, the midnerve not
reaching the tip of the scale.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Borne in perigynia, the perigynia spreading, smooth, green to brown, ovoid to
triangular, nerved on the outer face, 1/8-1/6 inch long, tapering to a 2-toothed beak; styles 2.
- Fruits: Achenes lenticular.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
Previous Species -- Soft-leaf Sedge (Carex disperma)
Return to Species List -- Group 3
Next Species -- Graceful Sedge (Carex gracillima)