Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
62. Cyperaceae, the Sedge Family
2. Carex L. -- Sedge
5. Carex aurea Nutt. -- Golden sedge
Loosely tufted from rhizomes; culms erect, trigonous, 0.5-2(3) dm long.
Leaves 1-4 mm wide; sheaths membranous ventrally, concave at the
mouth. Spikes 2-5 per culm, ascending, the lower ones peduncled; terminal
spikes totally staminate (rarely slightly pistillate at the apex), 3-18 mm long;
lateral spikes pistillate, aggregate to widely spaced, 7-15(20) mm long; bract
of the lowest spike short-sheathing the culm, surpassing the inflorescence;
pistillate scales whitish to tawny, with a green midvein, ovate to round-ovate,
acute to nearly rounded, cuspidate, shorter than the perigynia. Perigynia
whitish-pulverulent, especially at the apex, becoming golden orange at maturity
(drying pale), somewhat flattened, elliptic to obovate, beakless or with a very
short tubular beak, several-ribbed, (1.5)2-2.5(3) mm long; achenes dark
brown to blackish, lenticular, 1-1.5 mm long; stigmas 2. Jun--Jul. Wet
meadows, low prairie, springs, moist woods and along shores, often where sandy;
occasional; (Newf. to AK, s to CT, PA, IN, MN, NE, NM and CA).
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