Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Clustered Field Sedge
Carex praegracilis W. Boott
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-September
- Field Marks: This sedge is recognized by its coarse, black, scaly rhizomes, its spikelets with male flowers at the tip, its 2 styles, its lenticular achenes, at least the lowest spikelet not crowded with the rest, and its perigynia at least 1/12
- Habitat: Most moist habitats from sea level to the mountains, often in alkaline soils.
- Habit: Perennial herb with coarse, black, scaly rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, 1 or few together, up to 2 feet tall, smooth, triangular.
- Leaves: Alternate, elongated, mostly all near the base of the plant, flat, up to 1/6 inch wide, not hairy.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets, with the male flowers at the tip of each spikelet; spikelets 6-25, crowded into a cylindrical head, except the lowest spikelet not crowded into the head; each spikelet less than 1/2 inch long.
- Scales: Pale brown, usually with a green mid-vein, as long as or longer than the
- Sepals: O.
- Petals: O.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Enclosed in a perigynium; each perigynium pale brown to brown to brown-black, at least 1/12 inch long, ovoid to ellipsoid, with a short, prominent beak, usually with minute teeth on the beak; styles 2.
- Fruits: Achenes lenticular, up to 1/16 inch long.
- Notes: This species is valuable as a forage plant for livestock. It occurs from the prairies and plains to moderate elevations in the mountains. It is characteristic of alkaline flats.
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