323. Carex sprengelii Dewey ex Sprengel, Syst. Veg. 3: 827. 1826.
Sprengel’s sedge, long-beaked sedge, carex de Sprengel
Carex longirostris Torrey
Plants with short-creeping rhizomes, loosely cespitose, forming colonies. Culms brown at base, densely covered with brown fibrillose remains of previous year’s leaves; flowering stems 30–90 cm, longer than leaves at maturity, 0.5–0.7 mm thick, glabrous but finely scabrous within inflorescence. Leaves: sheaths glabrous, basal ones tinged with brown and all bearing blades, green to hyaline on back, white-hyaline on front; blades flat, 2.5–4 mm wide, finely scabrous on adaxial surface and margins, glabrous on abaxial surface. Inflorescences: peduncles of lateral spikes slender, 20–60 mm, equaling or somewhat longer than spikes, finely scabrous; peduncle of terminal spike 5–15 mm, scabrous; proximal bracts equaling inflorescences or more often shorter; sheaths 3–5 mm or rarely longer; blades 1–1.5 mm wide. Lateral spikes 4–5, 1 per node; proximal spikes well separated, nodding or drooping at maturity, pistillate with 10–40 perigynia about 1 mm apart, cylindric, 10–35 × 8–10 mm; distal spikes crowded near apex, sessile or nearly so, staminate or androgynous, linear, less than 20 mm. Terminal spike staminate or rarely with a few perigynia at base, 10–20 × 1.5–2 mm. Pistillate scales pale hyaline tinged with chestnut, narrow midrib green, sometimes finely scabrous, ovate-oblong, shorter than mature perigynia, apex long-acuminate, glabrous. Perigynia shiny tan to golden green, 2-ribbed, but otherwise veinless, closely enveloping achene at maturity, ovoid-ellipsoid, 4.5–6.5 × 1.5–2 mm, membranous, base acute, apex abruptly contracted to beak, glabrous; beak bidentate, narrowly tubular, nearly as long as body, finely scabrous on edge, teeth hyaline, 1 mm. Achenes substipitate, 2–2.5 × 1.7–1.8 mm. 2n = 42.
Fruiting early to mid summer. Dry to mesic deciduous forests and forest openings, floodplain forests and riverbanks, lakeshores, limestone river bluffs, mixed conifer-hardwood forests, thickets, meadows, roadsides, often associated with calcareous rocks and soils; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Ont., Que., Sask.; Colo., Conn., Del., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.Dak., Pa., S.Dak., Vt., Wis., Wyo.