Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Nerveless Wood Sedge
Carex leptonervia Fernald
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-July
- Field Marks: The distinguishing characteristics of this sedge are the separate male spikes
and several ascending female spikes and the narrowly obovoid perigynia which are nerveless
or with a few fine nerves, and a slightly bent beak.
- Habitat: Low woods, rich woods, moist thickets.
- Habit: Perennial herb with thickened rootstocks.
- Stems: Upright, branched or unbranched, slender, usually rough to the touch, triangular, up
to 2 1/2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Elongated, those in basal rosettes up to 1/2 inch wide, others on the stem up to
1/3 inch wide, rough to the touch; sheaths rough on the angles.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets, the spikelets congregated into spikes, the male spike separated
from the female ones but on the same plant, all of them surpassed by leaf-like bracts, the
male spike solitary, usually sessile and sometimes partially hidden among the female spikes,
up to 1 inch long, the female spikes 2-7, the uppermost crowded, the lower remote, narrowly
cylindrical, up to 1 1/2 inches long, up to 1/6 inch thick.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Borne in a perigynium, the perigynium narrowly obovoid, 1/6-1/4 inch long, about
1/12 inch thick, smooth, faintly few-nerved, the short terminal beak usually slightly bent; each
perigynium subtended by oblong to obovate scales shorter than the perigynium.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, obovoid, up to 1/6 inch long.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by wild birds.
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