Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Carex vesicaria L.
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: This sedge is distinguished by the combination of 1-4 slender male spikes, several thick, upright female spikes, 3 stigmas, triangular achenes, and long-tapering perigynia 1/4-1/3 inch long.
- Habitat: Marshes, wet meadows, swamps, bogs, edge of lakes and ponds, along streams.
- Habit: Perennial herb with short, much branched rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, triangular, up to 3 feet tall, without hairs but sometimes rough to the touch.
- Leaves: Alternate, elongated, narrow, up to 1/3 inch wide, flat, usually septate, smooth.
- Flowers: Male and female borne in separate spikes; male spikes 1-4 in number, upright, up to 3 inches long, up to 1/8 inch thick, usually not subtended by bracts; female spikes 2-5 in number, upright, up to 3 inches long, up to 3/4 inch thick, e
- Scales: Straw-colored to chestnut-colored, shorter and narrower than the perigynia, pointed at the tip but not awned.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Enclosed in a perigynium; perigynia crowded, all ascending, pale green to
straw-colored to chestnut-colored, lanceolate to lance-ovate, long-tapering to the tip, up to
1/3 inch long, smooth, with 10-20 nerves; stigmas 3.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, up to 1/8 inch long, with the terminal style persistent and bent.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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