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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

62. Cyperaceae, the Sedge Family

7. Fimbristylis Vahl

2. Fimbristylis puberula (Michx.) Vahl

Perennial with slender, stiff culms 2-7 dm tall, solitary or in small tufts, sometimes bulbous at the base, with short, slender to thick rhizomes. Leaves shorter than the culm; blades flat to involute, 0.5-3 mm wide; ligule a line of short hairs or incomplete to absent. Inflorescence umbellate or some branches forked, subtended by 2 or 3 foliaceous bracts, the longest of these shorter than to exceeding the inflorescence; pedicels slender, ascending to spreading; spikelets few to many, ovoid to ovoid-cylindric, 5-10 mm long; scales pale to dark brown, broadly ovate, mostly 3-3.5 mm long, broadly rounded at the apex, often with a short awn or mucro, scarious and sometimes short-ciliate on the margins, firm, shiny and often finely striate on the back, the lower scales sometimes puberulent; stamens (2)3; styles bifid, fringed with fine hairs below the branches. Achenes pale brown, lenticular, 1.2-1.8 mm long, reticulate between fine longitudinal lines on the convex faces, the straplike filaments often adherent to the achene base. Jun--Aug. Wet meadows, shores and moist to dry prairies, often where sandy; occasional in NE; (NJ to MI and NE, s to FL, TX and NM). F. castanea (Michx.) Vahl, F. caroliniana (Lam.) Fern., F. drummondii Boeckl.

Most plants of the northern plains are var. interior (Britt.) Kral, characterized as follows: Culms rarely bulbous at the base, with numerous slender, twisted, orangish rhizomes produced from the rather soft, tufted base. Longest involucral bract usually surpassing the inflorescence; spikelet scales glabrous.

From e NE we have a few collections of var. puberula: Culms bulbous at the base, arising from a thick rhizome and clothed by the firm, fibrous sheaths of old leaves. Longest involucral bract usually much shorter than the inflorescence; spikelet scales short-ciliate.

GIF- Distribution Map

Map key

Previous Section -- Fimbristylis autumnalis (L.) R. & S.
Return to Family -- Cyperaceae - The Sedge Family
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