Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carex saxatilis L.
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this sedge are the male and female flowers borne in separate spikes, the dark colored scales, and the ellipsoid perigynium abruptly contracted into a very short beak.
- Habitat: Edge of ponds, along streams, wet meadows, fens.
- Habit: Perennial herb with extensively creeping rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, slender, triangular, up to 2 feet tall, not hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate, elongated, narrow, usually not surpassing the stem (except for the
lowermost bract), up to 1/6 inch wide, not hairy, usually septate, particularly on the sheaths.
- Flowers: Male and female borne in separate spikes; male spikes 1-2, terminal, up to 1 1/2 inches long, up to 1/4 inch thick, dark in color; female spikes 1-2, up to 1 1/2 inches long, up to 1/2 inch thick, the lowest on a stalk and sometimes nod
- Scales: Lanceolate to elliptic, shorter and narrower than the perigynia, usually dark-colored, rarely straw-colored.
- Sepals: O.
- Petals: O.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Enclosed in a perigynium; perigynia crowded, ascending, usually dark-colored, rarely straw-colored, ellipsoid, up to 1/4 inch long, abruptly contracted into a very short beak, smooth; stigmas 2.
- Fruits: Achenes lenticular, about 1/10 inch long, smooth.
- Notes: The achenes are sometimes eaten by waterfowl.
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