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Common Graminoid Species of the Northwest Forest

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Terminology | Pictorial

   
Carex vaginata
Sheathed Sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Sheathed Sedge Description

General - stems single or few together from long, slender creeping rhizomes, 10 - 60 cm tall, smooth, irregularly bent.

Leaves - soft, flat, hairless, 2 - 4 mm wide, mostly at stem base.

Flower Cluster - end spike male, 1 - 2 cm long, long-stalked; 2 - 3 female side spikes (sometimes with male flowers at tip), 1 - 2.5 cm at base of female spikes have conspicuous sheaths, 1 - 2 cm long, enlarged upwards, with flat blade, shorter than spike.

Perigynia - yellowish-green to light brown, elliptic to elliptic-egg-shaped, 3 - 5 mm long, faintly veined, smooth, beak about 1 mm long; scales purplish brown, shorter than perigynia; 3 stigmas.

Habitat

Bogs and wet coniferous woods; often with Sphagnum moss; common and widespread across Northwestern Ontario's boreal forest, north to low Arctic; circumpolar.

Notes

This common sedge is said to have moderate value as winter forage for wildlife. The name vaginata is derived from the Latin vagina, 'a sheath', and refers to the conspicuous 1 - 2 cm-long sheaths formed by the leafy bracts immediately below the spikes.





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