Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carex polymorpha Muhl.
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: This sedge differs by its perigynia with long, straight beaks, stiffly erect spikes,
basal leaves reduced to bladeless sheaths, and stout rhizomes.
- Habitat: Dry woods, fields.
- Habit: Tufted perennial herb from stout rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, rather stout, up to 2 feet tall, smooth or nearly so, purplish at base.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat but becoming inrolled, up to 1/4 inch wide, the basal leaves reduced
to bladeless sheaths.
- Flowers: Borne in spikes, the 1-2 male spikes separate from the 1-2 female spikes; male
spikes narrow oblong, short-stalked, often purplish; female spikes upright, many-flowered, up
to 2 1/2 inches long, up to 1/2 inch thick; female scales ovate, rounded at the tip, reddish
brown, shorter than the perigynia.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Borne in perigynia, the perigynia ovoid, triangular, smooth, to 1/4 inch long,
obscurely nerved, with a long, straight beak about half as long as the body; styles 3.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by wildlife.
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