Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carex leptalea Wahlenb.
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: This rather delicate, slender sedge has a single slender spike at the tip of each stem with the male flowers at the top of the spike. The perigynia completely lack a beak.
- Habitat: Swamps, bogs, fens, around lakes and ponds.
- Habit: Perennial herb with branched rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, very slender, up to 18 inches tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Elongated, very narrow, flat, up to 1/20 inch wide, smooth, nearly always shorter than the stem.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne in a solitary terminal slender spike with the male flowers at the top, the spike up to 3/4 inch long, not subtended by a bract.
- Scales: Ovate to lanceolate, rounded or pointed or even awned at the tip, greenish or
brownish, shorter than the perigynia.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Enclosed in a perigynium; each perigynium ellipsoid, rounded and not beaked at the tip, narrowed to a spongy base, 1/6-1/4 inch long, pale green to straw-colored; stigmas 3.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, about 1/12 inch long, smooth.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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