All Floras      Advanced Search
FNA Vol. 23 Login | eFloras Home | Help
FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 23 | Cyperaceae | Carex

26q. CAREX Linneaus sect. OVALES Kunth, Enum. Pl. 2: 394. 1837.

Joy Mastrogiuseppe, Paul E. Rothrock, A. C. Dibble & A. A. Reznicek

Plants usually densely cespitose, rarely colonial, short-rhizomatous. Culms brown at base. Leaves: basal sheaths somewhat fibrous; sheath fronts membranous or herbaceous and not differentiated; blades V-shaped in cross section when young, smooth, sometimes minutely papillose. Inflorescences racemose, with 2–20+ spikes, 1–1.5 times as long as wide in fruit; proximal bracts scalelike or bristlelike, rarely leaflike, not more than 5 cm, not more than 2 times as long as inflorescences, sheathless; lateral spikes gynecandrous or pistillate, sessile, not prophyllate; terminal spikes gynecandrous. Proximal pistillate scales with apex obtuse to acuminate or awned. Perigynia erect to spreading, veined or veinless on both faces, sometimes stipitate, linear to orbiculate, flat to plano-convex, base tapering to rounded, margins winged or rarely narrowly ridged, entire, apex tapering to rounded to beak, smooth or, rarely, papillose; beak with abaxial suture, margins entire, apex bidentatate. Stigmas 2. Achenes biconvex, smaller than bodies of perigynia, with short apiculus formed by persistent base of style; style deciduous, base not enlarged.

Species ca. 85 (72 in the flora): North America, Mexico, West Indies, Bermuda, Central America, South America, Eurasia.

The complex and difficult sect. Ovales is the largest section of Carex in North America. Only a few species in the section are found outside North America.

Fully mature perigynia are a prerequisite for keying. Perigynium measurements are best taken from perigynia about 1/3 of the spike length. Perigynia become distinctly marrower near the top of the spikes and the proximalmost few perigynia in the spikes are often shorter and wider than usual and sometimes deformed. Before choosing which lead in the key to follow, several perigynia should be sampled to assess variation in veination, shape, and size. Dimensions of the larger perigynia and achenes should be used in keying. Inflorescence characters are best taken from inflorescences produced by the first flush of growth in the spring. Many species continue to flower sporadically through the spring and summer, but especially in species with elongated, open or nodding inflorescences, the later inflorescences tend to be congested, ± erect, with more numerous spikes with shorter staminate bases, and with the proximalmost bracts longer and more leaflike. Those late-season forms are not accounted for in the key or descriptions, and plants collected late in the season lacking intact spring inflorescences may be impossible to key.


Mackenzie, K. K. 1916. Notes on Carex XI. Californian representatives of the Ovales. Bull. Tor-rey Bot. Club 43: 601–620. Reznicek, A. A. 1993b. Revision of Carex section Ovales (Cyperaceae) in Mexico. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 19: 97–136. Rothrock, P. E. and A. A. Reznicek. 2001. The taxonomy of the Carex bicknellii group (Cyperaceae) and new species for central North America. Novon 11: 205–228. Rothrock, P. E., A. A. Reznicek, and L. R. Ganion. 1997. Taxonomy of the Carex straminea complex (Cyperaceae). Canad. J. Bot. 75: 2177–2195. Whitkus, R. 1988. Systematics and Evolution of the Carex pachystachya Complex (Cyperaceae). Ph.D. dissertation. Ohio State University. Whitkus, R. and J. G. Packer. 1984. A contribution to the taxonomy of the Carex macloviana aggregate (Cyperaceae) in western Canada and Alaska. Canad. J. Bot. 62: 1592–1607.

Key to Carex Sect. Ovales East of the Rocky Mountains

1 Pistillate scales uniformly as long as or longer than mature perigynia, usually concealing beaks (though not necessarily bodies), apex obtuse to acuminate, not awned.   (2)
+ Pistillate scales (awns, if any, excluded) shorter than perigynia at least in middle portions of spikes, apical portion narrower than beaks and not completely covering them, apex awned in some species.   (11)
2 (1) Perigynia 6–8 mm at longest; inflorescences stiffly erect; high plains near Rocky Mountain foothills and Cypress Hills in Alberta and Saskachewan.   127 Carex petasata
+ Perigynia 2.9–6(–6.5) mm at longest; inflorescences stiffly erect or flexible and nodding; widespread.   (3)
3 (2) Pistillate scales as wide as and essentially covering perignyia bodies.   (4)
+ Pistillate scales usually distinctly narrower than perignyia bodies.   (5)
4 (3) Scales reddish brown, hyaline margins 0–0.2 mm wide; perigynia strongly 7– 11-veined abaxially.   122 Carex adusta
+ Scales whitish or yellowish, hyaline margins 0.3–0.7 mm wide; perigynia veinless or faintly veined abaxially.   125 Carex xerantica
5 (3) Perignyium beak cylindric, unwinged, ± entire for 0.4+ mm from apex.   (6)
+ Perignyium beak flat, ciliate-serrulate to apex.   (8)
6 (5) Inflorescences usually ± nodding, spikes well separated; perigynia usually (3.7–)4.5–6.5 mm.   117 Carex praticola
+ Inflorescences stiffly erect; spikes aggregated or ± separated; perigynia usually less than 4.5 mm.   (7)
7 (6) Inflorescences dense, 1–2 cm, the proximal internode 1.5–4.8 mm; perigynia dark gold to coppery brown with metallic sheen; pistillate scales usually obtuse; arctic, subarctic, and alpine.   111 Carex macloviana
+ Inflorescences usually ± open, 1.5–4 cm, the proximal internode (2.5–)4–10 mm; perigynia gold or light brown, without metallic sheen; pistillate scales acute to acuminate; ruderal mostly near the east coast.   115 Carex ovalis
8 (5) Perigynia lanceolate, 0.9–1.4 mm wide; Maine.   116 Carex oronensis
+ Perigynia ovate, obovate or elliptic, 1.5–3.2 mm wide; widespread.   (9)
9 (8) Principal leaves stiff, ± glaucous, often bearing auricles at base, summit of sheaths truncate, prolonged 1–4 mm beyond collar; flat margins of perigynia 0.5–0.8 mm wide; achenes 1–1.2 mm wide; maritime sand flats, dunes, and headlands.   149 Carex silicea
+ Principal leaves pliable, green, almost always without auricles, summit of sheaths U-shaped, only slightly prolonged beyond collar; flat margins of perigynia 0.2–0.6 mm wide; achenes 1–1.7 mm wide; inland, sandy or rocky habitats.   (10)
10 (9) Perigynia ascending to spreading, strongly and evenly veined on adaxial face, finely granular-papillose; spikes (3–)7–15, distal usually densely aggregated.   124 Carex argyrantha
+ Perigynia erect-ascending, often veinless on adaxial face or with few veins of unequal strength, smooth; spikes 3–7(–11), distal often ± separated.   123 Carex foenea
11 (1) Proximal 2–3 inflorescence bracts leaflike, without bristle tips, much longer than inflorescences, ± surrounding culms; pistillate scales acuminate to awned; western.   99 Carex athrostachya
+ Proximal 2–3 inflorescence bracts scalelike, often with bristle tips, shorter than or equaling inflorescences, rarely ± leaflike; pistillate scales obtuse, acute, or acuminate; widespread.   (12)
12 (11) Perignyium beak cylindric, ± entire for 0.2–0.9 mm from apex; South Dakota, Canadian prairies, and Arctic.   (13)
+ Perignyium beak flat, ciliate-serrulate nearly to apex; widespread.   (16)
13 (12) Perigynia 6–8 mm at longest; high plains near Rocky Mountain foothills and Cypress Hills in Alberta and Saskachewan.   127 Carex petasata
+ Perigynia 2.8–5.2 mm at longest; more widespread.   (14)
14 (13) Perigynia green or straw colored to brown when mature, mostly lighter in color than pistillate scale bodies; distance from top of achene to beak tip at least 1/2 length of perigynium.   110 Carex microptera
+ Perigynia dark gold to coppery brown or brownish black when overmature, not much different in color from pistillate scale bodies; distance from top of achene to perigynium tip 1/2 or less perigynium length.   (15)
15 (14) Pistillate scale margins and perigynium tips conspicuously white-hyaline; perigynium wings darker than body; treeless areas in arctic, subarctic, and alpine regions.   111 Carex macloviana
+ Pistillate scale margins and perigynium tips not or barely white-hyaline; perigynium wings same color as body (sometimes margins of wings dark); moist openings among trees and shrub.   106 Carex pachystachya
16 (12) Pistillate scales in middle or proximal portions of spikes with apex acuminate with subulate tip or awned.   (17)
+ Pistillate scales with apex obtuse, acute, or acuminate, sometimes inconspicuous in spikes.   (27)
17 (16) Perigynia 3.5–6.3 mm wide; Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas.   164 Carex tetrastachya
+ Perigynia 0.9–4 mm wide, widespread.   (18)
18 (17) Perigynia 2.6–4 times longer than wide, bodies lanceolate, 0.9–2 mm wide.   (19)
+ Perigynia less than 2.5 times longer than wide, bodies lance-ovate, ovate, broadly elliptic, orbiculate, or obovate, 1.8–3.9 mm wide.   (20)
19 (18) Perigynia 0.9–1.3 mm wide; achenes 0.6–0.8 mm wide; inflorescences dense; proximal inflorescence internodes 2–3(–5) mm.   135 Carex crawfordii
+ Perigynia 1.2–2 mm wide; achenes 0.7–1.1 mm wide; inflorescences dense to open; proximal internode 2–17 mm.   134 Carex scoparia
20 (18) Perigynia (5.8–)6–7.1 mm at longest; beak 2–2.8 mm; pistillate scales with apex white-hyaline, acuminate-awned, fragile, membranaceous, and often curled, midvein not extending to tip.   160 Carex missouriensis
+ Perigynia (2.3–)2.5–5.9(–6.3) mm at longest; beak 0.85–2.2(–2.5) mm; pistillate scales with apex firm, greenish to reddish brown, straight, midvein extending to tip.   (21)
21 (20) Perigynium body obovate, often with conspicuous “shoulders;” leaves 2.5–6 mm at widest.   142 Carex alata
+ Perigynium body elliptic, suborbiculate, or weakly obovate; leaves 1–3(–4.2) mm at widest.   (22)
22 (21) Perignyium body cuneately tapered to base, base subacute, body ± diamond shaped; inflorescences ± dense, stiffly erect, with 3–5 spikes.   144 Carex suberecta
+ Perignyium body convexly tapered to base, base rounded, body ovate, elliptic, orbiculate or weakly obovate, inflorescences dense and erect or open and nodding, with 3–11 spikes.   (23)
23 (22) Larger perigynia (2.4–)2.6–3.6 mm wide; achenes 1.8–2.2 × 1.3– 1.5 mm.   162 Carex shinnersii
+ Larger perigynia 1.8–2.6(–2.8) mm wide; achenes 1.1–1.8 × 0.6–1.3 mm.   (24)
24 (23) Scales with white-hyaline or pale yellowish margins; perigynia greenish to straw colored or pale brown, (2.3–)2.5–4(–4.2) mm, often indistinctly 0–4(–6)-veined adaxially.   155 Carex festucacea
+ Scales with reddish brown margins; perigynia reddish brown, (3.8–)4–5.5 mm, conspicuously 5+-veined adaxially.   (25)
25 (24) Achenes 1.1–1.4 × 0.6–0.8 mm; inflorescences compact, often headlike, erect or stiffly bent; proximal internode 1.5–4.5 mm.   134 Carex scoparia
+ Achenes 1.5–1.8 × 0.8–1.1 mm; inflorescences usually elongated, arched or nodding; proximal internode (2–)5–18 mm.   (26)
26 (25) Beak ascending, less than 1/2 length of the lance-ovate to weakly obovate perignyium body; lateral spikes with acute staminate bases mostly less than 2 mm; maritime, salt influenced habitats.   141 Carex hormathodes
+ Beak widely spreading, more than 1/2 length of the suborbiculate perignyium body; lateral spikes with tapered staminate bases 2–6 mm; freshwater wetlands.   140 Carex straminea
27 (16) Perigynia 2 mm wide or less.   (28)
+ Perigynia more than 2 mm wide.   (43)
28 (27) Perigynia thin, often not winged to base; leaf sheaths somewhat expanded towards apex, bearing narrow wings continuous with midvein and edges of leaf blade; blades 3–7.5 mm wide; vegetative shoots tall, conspicuous, with numerous leaves spaced along distal 1/2 of culm.   (29)
+ Perigynia thicker, winged to base; leaf sheaths with ± rounded edges, not distinctly expanded towards apex; blades 1–4.5 mm wide (except in C. normalis); vegetative shoots usually inconspicuous, with relatively few leaves clustered at apex.   (31)
29 (28) Proximal perigynia of each spike spreading or recurved (at 80° angle or greater); spikes globose; pistillate scales hidden, 1.6–2.3 mm.   138 Carex cristatella
+ Proximal perigynia of each spike appressed-ascending to somewhat spreading (at 30–75° angle); spikes subglobose to ovate-oblong; pistillate scales evident, 2–3 mm.   (30)
30 (29) Inflorescences straight, spikes overlapping; perigynia usually 40+, appressed-ascending (at 30–40° angle); leaf sheaths firm at summit.   136 Carex tribuloides
+ Inflorescences usually flexible or nodding, proximal spikes usually separated; perigynia usually 15–40, spreading (at 40–75° angle to spike axis); leaf sheaths firm or friable at summit.   137 Carex projecta
31 (28) Perigynia (2.5–)2.6–4 times as long as wide, body lanceolate, distance from beak tip to top of achene 2.2–5 mm (sometimes to 1.8 mm in C. crawfordii with perigynia less than 1.3 mm wide).   (32)
+ Perigynia less than 2.5 times as long as wide, body obovate, orbiculate, or ovate, distance from beak tip to top of achene 0.8–2.2 mm.   (34)
32 (31) Perigynia 0.9–1.3 mm wide; achenes 0.6–0.8 mm wide; inflorescences dense, erect; proximal internode 2–3(–5) mm.   135 Carex crawfordii
+ Perigynia 1.2–2 mm wide; achenes 0.7–1.1 mm wide; inflorescences dense to open, arching or nodding; proximal internode 2–17 mm.   (33)
33 (32) Spikes ellipsoid; inflorescences compact to open and arching; pistillate scales acuminate; perigynia usually ascending.   134 Carex scoparia
+ Spikes ovoid to globose; inflorescences open, usually nodding; pistillate scales acute; perigynia spreading.   152 Carex tenera
34 (31) Perigynium body obovate, widest distally.   (35)
+ Perigynium body ovate, elliptic, or orbiculate, widest at or proximal to mid body.   (36)
35 (34) Perignyium beak appressed-ascending, triangular; pistillate scales obtuse; styles straight.   146 Carex longii
+ Perignyium beak spreading, slender; pistillate scales acute; styles laterally sinuous at base.   148 Carex albolutescens
36 (34) Inflorescences on tallest culms compact, 1.5–3 times as long as wide, erect, spikes overlapping; the proximal internode 1–6(–7.5) mm, 1/2–1/5(–1/4) length of inflorescence.   (37)
+ Inflorescences on tallest culms elongate, ± open proximally, (2.5–)3–5.1 times as long as wide, often arching or nodding; spikes ± separate; proximal internode (5–)7–19 mm, mostly 1/5–1/3(–1/2) length of inflorescence.   (40)
37 (36) Achenes 0.6–0.9 mm wide; perigynia veinless or 1–3-veined adaxially, veins faint or basal; inflorescences less than 30 mm.   150 Carex bebbii
+ Achenes 0.9–1.3 mm wide; perigynia often 3-veined adaxially; inflorescences 12–60 mm.   (38)
38 (37) Perigynia broadly elliptic or nearly orbiculate, wing margin 0.4– 0.8 mm wide, 0–6 veined adaxially.   156 Carex molesta
+ Perigynia ovate to broadly ovate, wing margin 0.25–0.45 mm wide, 4–7-veined adaxially.   (39)
39 (38) Sheaths smooth, whitish mottled, inner band not corrugated; perigynia greenish at maturity.   153 Carex normalis
+ Sheaths finely papillose (at 30X), not whitish mottled, the inner band sometimes corrugated; perigynia brown at maturity.   151 Carex tincta
40 (36) Perignyium orbiculate, widest at mid body.   155 Carex festucacea
+ Perignyium narrowly to broadly ovate, widest proximal to mid body.   (41)
41 (40) Sheaths, at least some, papillose near collar (at 30X), not prominently whitish mottled; perignyium beak appressed or ascending in spikes, exceeding pistillate scales by 0–0.8 mm; beak and shoulders of perigynia straw colored to reddish brown at maturity.   152 Carex tenera
+ Sheaths smooth, often whitish mottled; perignyium beak spreading, exceeding pistillate scales by 0.7–1.6 mm; beak and shoulders of perigynia greenish to yellowish or greenish brown at maturity.   (42)
42 (41) Inflorescences erect to somewhat bent; proximal internode mostly 6–10(–11.5) mm; rachis stiff; leaves 2.2–6.5 mm wide; larger perigynia mostly 2.7–4.1 mm and 1.8–2.2 times as long as wide; plants forming small, ± erect clumps of fewer than 40 culms.   153 Carex normalis
+ Inflorescences arching or nodding; proximal internode (6–)10–21 mm; rachis usually thin, wiry; leaves 1.5–3.5(–3.7) mm wide; larger perigynia mostly (3.4–)3.6–4.6 mm, (1.9–)2.1–2.8(–3.2) times as long as wide; plants often forming large, spreading, nodding clumps of many culms.   152 Carex tenera
43 (27) Spikes 12–28 mm with tapered base and acute apex; perigynium body lanceolate, 6–9 mm; vegetative culms conspicuous.   139 Carex muskingumensis
+ Spikes either shorter than 12 mm or longer and with either rounded bases or apices or both; perigynium body ovate, elliptic, orbiculate, or obovate or, if lanceolate, shorter than 6 mm; vegetative culms conspicuous or not.   (44)
44 (43) Perignyium bodies obovate, widest distally; leaf sheaths green veined adaxially nearly to summit or with narrow Y-shaped hyaline area.   (45)
+ Perignyium body lanceolate, ovate, elliptic, orbiculate, or reniform, widest at or proximal to middle; leaf sheaths various, some with prominent hyaline band near apex adaxially.   (51)
45 (44) Achenes 1.3–1.8 mm at widest.   Go to couplet 57
+ Achenes 0.75–1.2(–1.3) mm at widest.   (46)
46 (45) Inflorescences erect, 1–4.5 cm; spikes slightly separated to congested, base rounded to acute, staminate portion of spike less than 2 mm.   (47)
+ Inflorescences arching or nodding, 2.3–8.4 cm; spikes widely separated; spikes clavate.   (50)
47 (46) Perignyium beak spreading, narrow triangular, distance from beak tip to top of achene 1–2 mm; styles with strong lateral sinuosity at base.   148 Carex albolutescens
+ Perignyium beak appressed-ascending, broad triangular, distance from beak tip to top of achene (1.4–)2+ mm; styles straight or occasionally sinuous near middle.   (48)
48 (47) Perigynia veinless on adaxial face; leaves 3–6(–8) mm at widest; sheaths truncate at summit and extending 0.3 mm beyond collar.   145 Carex cumulata
+ Perigynia veined on adaxial face; leaves 2–4(–4.5) mm at widest; sheaths concave at summit and not prolonged beyond collar.   (49)
49 (48) Pistillate scales white-hyaline to pale silvery-brown, obtuse; achenes 0.7–1 mm wide, apiculum less than 0.4 mm; widespread.   146 Carex longii
+ Pistillate scales reddish brown, acute; achenes 0.9–1.2 mm wide, apiculum 0.4–0.8 mm; Ozark Mountains and vicinity.   147 Carex ozarkana
50 (46) Sheaths finely papillose (at 30X), summits truncate, prolonged 1–4 mm beyond collar; pistillate scales white-hyaline; coastal.   149 Carex silicea
+ Sheaths smooth, summits concave, only reaching base of leaf blade; pistillate scales yellowish to reddish brown; Ozark mountains and vicinity.   147 Carex ozarkana
51 (44) Plants colonial; rhizomes short-creeping; vegetative culms numerous, conspicuous, strongly 3-ranked, with 15–35 leaves when fully developed; achenes 1.6–2 times as long as wide (and 0.9–1.2 mm wide); larger spikes with 5–25(–30) perigynia.   165 Carex hyalina
+ Plants clumping; rhizomes may appear elongate in old clumps; vegetative culms few, inconspicuous, usually with fewer than 15(–17) leaves, not strikingly 3-ranked; achenes 1–1.6(–1.7) times as long as wide, 0.9–2.2 mm wide; larger spikes with 15–80 perigynia.   (52)
52 (51) Perigynia finely granular-papillose (30X), body reniform to orbiculate, 0.6–0.9 times as long as wide, 3.5–4.5(–4.9) mm wide; proximal pistillate scale obtuse-rounded.   163 Carex reniformis
+ Perigynia smooth, body broadly ovate, elliptic, ± orbiculate, or rarely slightly obovate, (0.7–)0.9–1.7 times as long as wide, 1.5–6.1 mm wide; proximal pistillate scale obtuse to acuminate-awned.   (53)
53 (52) Perigynia 5.5–8(–8.7) × (3.1–)3.3–6.3 mm at largest (except sometimes in C. bicknellii and C. shinnersii), often prominently bulged on both faces; beak (1.4–)1.6–2.5(–3.4) mm.   (54)
+ Perigynia 2.5–5.5 × 2–3.6 mm at largest (to 6.1 × 4.4 mm in the Florida endemic C. vexans), prominently bulged by achene only on abaxial face or flat; beak usually 0.7–1.6(–1.8) mm.   (58)
54 (53) Perigynia 3.5–6.3 mm at widest, veinless over achenes adaxially or nearly so; at least proximal staminate scales, especially of terminal spike and sometimes proximal pistillate scales, with midvein excurrent as scabrous awn 0.1–0.9(–2.4) mm; larger culms with 2–4(–5) spikes.   164 Carex tetrastachya
+ Perigynia (2.5–)2.7–4.8 mm at widest, (0–)1–8-veined over achene adaxially; staminate and pistillate scales obtuse to acuminate-awned, midvein not excurrent as scabrous awn; larger culms with (3–)4–7(–11) spikes.   (55)
55 (54) Leaf sheaths finely papillose, at least near apex; perigynia membranaceous, with brown achene clearly visible through hyaline adaxial face, usually with reddish brown tinged wings, strongly, evenly 4–8-veined adaxially over achene; pistillate scales usually reddish brown; anthers (2.4–)2.8–4.2 mm; plants in small clumps (usually fewer than 25 culms) in dry to mesic habitats.   158 Carex bicknellii
+ Leaf sheaths smooth; perigynia herbaceous, opaque, with achene not clearly visible through adaxial face, with greenish or pale brown wings, finely and irregularly (0–)1–7-veined over achene adaxially; pistillate scales pale yellowish brown to brown; anthers (1.8–)2.2–3.6 mm; plants often in dense, large clumps (to 200 culms) in wet habitats.   (56)
56 (55) Staminate and pistillate scales acuminate-awned, tip white to brownish hyaline, membranaceous, often ± curled, midvein fading before tip; beak of larger perigynia 2–2.6(–2.8) mm; body (1.3–) 1.4–2.1 times as long as beak.   160 Carex missouriensis
+ Staminate and pistillate scales obtuse to acuminate, tip firm, herbaceous, flat or inrolled, midvein prominent to tip; beak (1.2–)1.5–2.1(–2.3) mm; body 1.9–3 times as long as beak.   (57)
57 (56) Perigynia (5.6–)6–7.1 × 3.3–4.6(–4.8) mm, exceeding subtending scale by 1.5–2.6 mm; staminate and proximal pistillate scales obtuse to acute; pistillate scales 2.4–3.2(–3.4) times as long as wide.   161 Carex opaca
+ Perigynia (4.5–)4.8–6(–6.3) × 2.5–3.8 mm, exceeding subtending scale by (0.4–)0.6–1.4(–1.6) mm; staminate and proximal pistillate scales acuminate; pistillate scales (2.6–)2.9–3.7(–4.2) times as long as wide.   162 Carex shinnersii
58 (53) Leaf sheaths green-veined adaxially nearly to summit; inflorescences dense to ± open, erect, the proximal internode usually less than 8(–12) mm.   (59)
+ Leaf sheaths with white-hyaline area adaxially; inflorescences open or dense.   (60)
59 (58) Perigynia with acute bases, 2–2.8 mm wide; beak appressed, 2/5+ length of body; broadest leaves 1.5–2.5 mm wide; n, w North America.   144 Carex suberecta
+ Perigynia with rounded bases, 3–4.4 mm wide; beak spreading, 1/3 length of body; leaves 2–5 mm at widest; Florida.   143 Carex vexans
60 (58) Perigynium body narrowly to broadly ovate, greenish; pistillate scales with green midstripe, hyaline or pale margins, rarely brown tinged; leaves 2.5–6.5 mm wide, sheaths green mottled, with mouth truncate, and prolonged to 2 mm distal to base of leaf blades.   153 Carex normalis
+ Perigynium body broadly ovate, broadly elliptic, or orbiculate, yellowish to tan brown; pistillate scales greenish or dark brown; leaves 1.5–4(–5) mm wide, sheaths usually evenly colored, with mouth concave (prolonged distal to base of leaf blades in C. merritt-fernaldii).   (61)
61 (60) Leaf sheaths finely papillose (at 30–40X), especially near leaf base.   (62)
+ Leaf sheaths smooth.   (65)
62 (61) Perigynia strongly and evenly 4–8-veined over achene adaxially, (4.5–)5.1–5.5 mm; pistillate scales usually (1–)1.4–2.3 mm shorter than perigynia; anthers (2.4–)2.8–4.2 mm.   158 Carex bicknellii
+ Perigynia veinless or faintly and irregularly 0–5(–6)-veined over achene adaxially, (2.3–)2.5–5.2(–5.5) mm; pistillate scales 0.2–1.3 mm shorter than perigynia; anthers (1–)1.3–2.6 mm.   (63)
63 (62) Pistillate scales reddish brown or dark brown; leaves of fertile shoots 2–4, sheaths with adaxial hyaline area sometimes puckered or cross-corrugated.   151 Carex tincta
+ Pistillate scales greenish to yellowish; leaves of fertile shoots 3–6, sheaths not puckered.   (64)
64 (63) Perigynia 2.3–3.5 mm wide; distance from summit of achene to tip of beak 1.8–3.1 mm; achenes 1.1–1.5 mm wide.   159 Carex merritt-fernaldii
+ Perigynia 1.5–2.3(–2.5) mm wide; distance from summit of achene to tip of beak 0.8–1.7(–2) mm; achenes 1–1.3 mm wide.   155 Carex festucacea
65 (61) Spikes on larger culms (3–)5–7(–11), tapered at base, terminal spike with conspicuous staminate base; inflorescences typically open, 2.5–4.5(–6.5) cm; proximal internode (3–)4–13(–23) mm; perigynium body (0.7–)0.9–1.3 times as long as wide (to 1.6 in C. shinnersii).   (66)
+ Spikes on larger culm 2–4(–5), rounded at base, terminal spike usually lacking conspicuous staminate base; inflorescences compact, 1.2–3(–3.6) cm, the proximal internode 1.5–7(–13) mm; perigynium body (0.7–)0.9–1.6 times as long as wide.   (68)
66 (65) Achenes 1.2–1.8 × 1–1.3 mm at largest; perigynia 2.5–4.2 × 1.5–2.3 (–2.5) mm at largest, mostly 2–4(–6)-veined adaxially.   155 Carex festucacea
+ Achenes (1.6–)1.7–2.2 × (1.2–)1.4–1.8 mm at largest; perigynia 3.2–5.5 ´ 2.5–3.6 mm at largest, veinless or faintly 1–5(–7)-veined adaxially.   (67)
67 (66) Perigynia 3.2–4.8(–5.2) mm at longest; beak 0.8–1.5 mm; pistillate scales 3.3–4(–4.3) mm, 2.3–2.9(–3.1) times as long as wide, acute; achenes 1–1.3(–1.4) times as long as wide.   154 Carex brevior
+ Perigynia (4.6–)5–5.5 mm at longest; beak 1.4–2.2(–2.4); pistillate scales, (3.7–)4–5.2(–5.6) mm, (2.6–)2.9–3.7(–4.2) times as long as wide, acuminate to awned; achenes (1.2–)1.4–1.7 times as long.   Go to couplet 56
68 (65) Achenes of larger perigynia ellipsoid to narrowly oblong, 0.9–1.3 mm wide, 1.3–1.6 times as long as wide; perigynia (25–)30–80 per spike, squarrose-spreading at maturity, 2–2.8(–3) mm at widest.   156 Carex molesta
+ Achenes of larger perigynia broadly oblong to ± orbicular, 1.35–1.8 mm wide, 1–1.3 times as long as wide; perigynia (10–)15–40(–45) per spike, appressed-ascending at maturity, (2.1–)2.5–3.4(–3.5) mm at widest.   (69)
69 (68) Perigynia veinless or faintly, irregularly 1–5-veined over achene adaxially, ± orbiculate, bodies (2–)2.3–3.2 mm, (0.7–)0.9–1.1(–1.3) times as long as wide; pistillate scales mostly acute, about as long as to 0.7(–0.9) mm shorter than subtended perigynium (flattened and measured separately); widespread.   154 Carex brevior
+ Perigynia strongly 4–6-veined over achene adaxially, broadly ovate to broadly elliptic, less often ± orbiculate, bodies (2.7–)3–4 mm, (0.9–)1–1.6 times as long as wide; pistillate scales mostly obtuse, 0.7–1.7 mm shorter than subtended perigynium (flattened and measured separately); Ozark Mountains, Cumberland Plateau, c Appalachians.   157 Carex molestiformis

List of Keys

  • List of lower taxa


  •  |  eFlora Home |  People Search  |  Help  |  ActKey  |  Hu Cards  |  Glossary  |