11. Carex divisa Hudson, Fl. Anglica. 348. 1762; Boiss., Fl. Or. 5: 401. 1882; Kukkonen in Rech.f., l.c. 189. 1998.
C. coarcta Boott, Trans. Linn. Soc. 1: 133. 1846. C. austro-afghanica Raymond in Koeie & Rechinger, Dan. Biol. Skr. 14: 24. 1965.
Greyish green perennial, 10-50(-80) cm, with long creeping rhizome. Rhizome sturdy, 1.5-3 mm in diam., with rather short internodes, covered with fibrous scales. Stem obtusely to sharply trigonous, distally more or less scabrous along the edges. Leaves 1/3 - 2/3 of stem length; sheaths 20-50 mm, outermost pale brown, mouth margin almost straight; ligule c. 0.2 mm; blades 1-3 mm wide, conduplicate to involute, seldom flat, adaxial side papillose, margins and mid-vein scabrous towards apex. Inflorescence 10-40 mm, of (3-)5-7(-15) overlapping androgynous spikes. Bracts sheath-less, narrow, lowest sometimes equalling inflorescence. Spikes 5-13 mm, globular to ellipsoid, at first variegated green and brown, later brown; female glumes 3-5 x 1.6-2.8 mm, light-brown with darker mid-vein and scarious margins, frequently with arista to 1.5 mm; utricles 3.2-4.7 x 1.5-2.1 mm, ellipsoid, plano-convex, conspicuously spongy, yellowish to dark-brown, with or without pronounced veins, sometimes with short stipe, beak 0.7-1.1 mm, smooth or slightly scabrous, basal part narrowly winged, ostiole bidentate or oblique, with scarious margin. Nut c. 2 x 1.5 mm, plano-convex, widely obovoid, light-brown to brown, sometimes with short style base.
Fl. Per.: (February-) March - August.
Syntypes: England, “In the meadows near the Hithe at Colchester in Essex, Mr. Newton; by Hithe in Kent, Mr. J. Sherard”.
Wet meadows, lake shores, along rivers, streams and irrigation channels, gardens, rice fields; in mountains to 2600 m; Distribution: Western Europe and throughout S. Europe, coastal regions of N. Africa to Iraq, Caucasus, Iran, Turkestan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, to Kashmir and E Myanmar; introduced in N. America, South Africa and New Zealand.
Carex divisa, although distinct species, is much variable, e.g. in length of bracts, venation of utricles etc. Boott (Trans. Linn. Soc. London 20: 133. 1851) separated from C. divisa eastern C. coarcta (sphalm. C. coacta) based on Griffith 79 from Afghanistan. This he later, in Ill. Gen. Carex 4: 204 (1867) reduced to varietal level under C. curaica. Kükenthal (in Engler, Pflanzenr. IV.20. 1909) misunderstood C. vulpinaris (see above) and included into it, besides C. pycnostachya, certain robust, eastern specimens of C. divisa. Kreczetovicz (in Kom., Fl. URSS 3. 1935) named the populations of C. divisa in Iran and eastwards as C. coarcta Boott, basing the distinction on the more robust vegetative structure of C. coarcta: plants taller, leaves wider, spikes larger and glumes shorter than utricles. C. austroafghanica Raymond is also based on eastern specimens from Afghanistan, with very weakly nerved utricles. It is quite likely that some of the eastern populations need formal recognition, but at this stage it seems advisable to be content with a broad collective treatment.