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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 23 | Cyperaceae | Carex

195. Carex torta Boott in E. Tuckerman, Enum. Meth. Caric. 11. 1843.

Carex tordu

Carex acuta Linnaeus var. sparsiflora Dewey; C. caespitosa Linnaeus var. ramosa Dewey; C. torta var. composita Porter; C. torta var. staminata Peck

Plants cespitose. Culms angled, 25–75 cm, glabrous. Leaves: basal sheaths red-brown; sheaths of proximal leaves glabrous, fronts lacking spots and veins, entire, apex truncate; blades 3–5 mm wide. Inflorescences: proximal bract subequal to inflorescence, 1–3 mm wide. Spikes erect or the proximal pendent; proximal 3–4 spikes pistillate, usually sessile, 2.5–9 cm × 4–5 mm, base attenuate; terminal 1–2 spikes staminate. Pistillate scales purple-brown to black, shorter than perigynia, apex acute, awnless. Perigynia divergent, green, veinless, somewhat flattened, tightly enclosing and distended by the achenes, ovoid, 2.3–4.7 × 1.1–1.8 mm, dull, apex acute, glabrous; beak green, often twisted, 0.1–0.3 mm, orifice oblique. Achenes not constricted, dull. 2n = 66.

Fruiting Jun. Rocky streambeds, banks; 0–1500 m N.B., N.S., Ont., Que.; Ark., Conn., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va.

A very common riverine species of eastern North America, Carex torta has an almost identical habit and habitat to the western C. nudata. Carex torta is, however, not a member of the C. stricta subgroup and has unusual green, glabrous perigynia that taper into a triangular, twisted beak with an obliquely bidentate orifice. Carex torta appears to be somewhat transitional to the Cryptocarpae group, based on the pendent spikes, sheath morphology, and large achenes.


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