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Carex crinita

Carex crinita Lam.

 

Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCyperalesFlowering plants including grasses
FamilyCyperaceaeSedge family
GenusCarexThe “true” sedges
Speciescrinita“Long-haired”

About plant names...

These sedges are native to North America. They have an affinity for wet, freshwater soils.

Plants: Drooping sedges are up to 4½' (1.4 m) high, though I rarely see them that large, with stems that are triangular in cross-section. They usually appear in tufts.

Flowers/seeds: Each stem supports 3-5 narrow, cylindrical drooping carpellate seed spikes up to 4½" (11 cm) in length and ¼" (7 mm) in diameter. Tiny, white, filament-like flowers are visible on the carpellate spikes in Photo 5. The precise shape of the perigynia and pistillate scales on the carpellate spikes are an identifying feature. Each stem also contains up to 3 staminate spikes. Although past their prime, you can make out the male pollen-bearing structures on the staminate spikes in Photo 7.

Leaves: Leaves are ribbed, grass-like, M- or U-shaped in cross section, up to ⅜" (1 cm) wide.

Carex crinita is easily confused with, and often found near, C. gynandra. “Easily confused” is an understatement: distinguishing these species requires a hand lens or scanner and a penchant for obscure botanical terminology. Scholarly papers have been written to provide evidence that they really are different.

 

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

1 · 9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

2 · 6/2/2010 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 12" (23 × 31 cm)

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

3 · 9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

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Carex crinita

Carex gynandra
Common Name

Drooping Sedge

Nodding Sedge
Plant Up to 4½' (1.4 m) tall. Up to 4½' (1.4 m) tall.
Flowers Drooping narrow cylindrical heads up to 4½" (11 cm) long and ¼" (7 mm) in diameter. Carpellate scales are pale, truncate to notched at apex, with rough-textured awns. 1-3 staminate spikes per stem. 2-5 carpellate narrow, cylindrical spikes per stem. Each spike is ⅞-4" (2.4-10 cm) long, ⅛-¼" (3-9 mm) in diameter. Scales on the carpels are pale- to copper brown. There are 1-3 staminate spikes per stem.
Leaves M or U-shaped in cross-section, ⅛-⅜" (4-10 mm) wide. ⅛-⅜" (4-10 mm) wide, U-shaped.
Stem Triangular stem cross-section. Basal leaf sheaths are smooth. Rough-textured, with a triangular cross-section. Basal leaf sheaths are rough.
Fruit Perigynia are spreading, slightly inflated obovoid (widest above the middle and truncate), ¹/₁₆-⅛" (2-4 mm) long. Perigynia are oval-shaped, tapering to a small beak.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Bottomland prairies, moist upland prairies, margins of bodies of water, spring branches, fens. Marshes, wet forests, swamps, seeps, and roadside ditches. Perhaps a little more weedy and abundant in acidic soils than C. crinita.
Type Wild Wild

 

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

Representative perigynia, achenes, and scales. Carex crinita (left): pistillate scale (a), perigynium (b), achene (g); C. gynandra (right): pistillate scale (c), perigynium (d), achenes (e, g). Standley, Lisa A., “A Clarification of the Status of Carex crinita and C. gynandra,” Rhodora, Journal of the New England Botanical Club, 1983, Vol. 85, No. 841.

Online References:

Carex crinita on Missouriplants.com

Carex crinita at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Carex crinita on the USDA Plants Database

Carex crinita at Illinois Wildflowers

Carex crinita at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Carex crinita at the U.S. Geological Survey's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Carex crinita at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Carex crinita on eFloras

References:

Arsenault, Matt; Mittelhauser, Glen H.; Cameron, Don; Dibble, Alison C.; Haines, Arthur; Rooney, Sally C.; and Weber, Jill E., Sedges of Maine: A Field Guide to Cyperaceae, University of Maine Press, 2013, p. 374

Knobel, Edward, Field Guide to the Grasses, Sedges and Rushes of the United States, Dover Publications Inc., 1980, p. 69

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

4 · 6/2/2010 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 11" (23 × 28 cm)

Carex crinita description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 21 Oct 2016.

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Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

5 · 5/20/2012 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm) ID is uncertain

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

6 · 5/31/2016 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Pepperell, MA

Carex crinita (Drooping Sedge, Long-haired Sedge, Fringed Sedge)

7 · 5/31/2016 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Pepperell, MA

Range:

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