Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carex athrostachya Olney
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-July
- Field Marks: The field marks of this sedge are the crowded spikes, all of which are female at the top and male at the bottom, wing-margined, slender, narrowly beaked perigynia, and the presence of a long leaf-like bract at the base of the inflor
- Habitat: Marshes, meadows, woodlands.
- Habit: Densely tufted perennial with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched, up to 2 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Elongated, often all near the base of the plant, flat, up to 1/6 inch wide, without hairs.
- Flowers: Male and female borne in the same spikes, with the female flowers above the male ones, with several spikes crowded in the inflorescence, each spike 1/4-1/2 inch long, the inflorescence subtended by a leaf-like bract much longer than the
narrower and usually slightly shorter than the perigynia, brownish, tapering to a point.
- Sepals: O.
- Petals: O.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Enclosed in a perigynium, the perigynium flattened, pale green to tan, lanceolate, with a narrow, minutely toothed wing on either side, without or with only a few nerves, up to 1/4 inch long, up to 1/12 inch wide; stigmas 2.
- Fruits: Achenes lenticular, up to 1/12 inch long.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by birds. This is a good forage species for cattle and horses.
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