26c. CAREX Linnaeus sect. MULTIFLORAE (J. Carey) Kükenthal in H. G. A. Engler, Pflanzenr. 38[IV,20]: 142. 1909.
Lisa A. Standley
Carex subsect. Multiflorae J. Carey, Carices North. U.S., 540. 1847
Plants loosely cespitose, sometimes long-rhizomatous. Culms brown at base, usually not more than 1 mm wide distally. Leaves: basal sheaths fibrous; sheath fronts membranous, often dotted red, transversely rugose; blades V-shaped in cross section when young, glabrous. Inflorescences usually paniculate, usually condensed, with 8–20+ spikes, usually more than 15 spikes; proximal bracts filiform, sheathless; spikes androgynous, rarely also with some staminate flowers proximally or pistillate, sessile, prophylls absent. Proximal pistillate scales yellow or brown, sometimes with hyaline margins and 3-veined center, apex obtuse, at least distally, to awned. Perigynia ascending or eventually spreading, veined abaxially, veined or veinless adaxially, stipitate, lanceolate to broadly ovate, plano-convex in cross section, base rounded or subcordate, with spongy tissue, margins acutely angled, apex tapering or abruptly contracted to beak, glabrous; beak bidentate, with abaxial suture. Stigmas 2. Achenes biconvex, smaller than bodies of perigynia; style deciduous.
Species 7 (7 in the flora): mainly North America, Mexico, introduced to Europe and New Zealand.
Carex sect. Multiflorae is not clearly distinguished from several other sections in the subgenus Vignea (i.e., sections Vulpinae, Foetidae, Bracteosae). Although sect. Multiflorae is generally distinguishable from sect. Vulpinae by the presence of spongy tissue lateral to the achene (rather than basal), the perigynia contracted to beak (rather than tapered), the conical style base (rather than cylindric), and the generally prominent setaceous bracts, some taxa within each section have that combination of characters.
Bicknell, E. P. 1896. Carex vulpinoidea and allied species. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 23: 21–25.