Carex albolutescens Schwein.

green-white sedge

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Green-white sedge is absent from northern New England. It is easy to confuse with fescue sedge (Carex festucacea), but differs in having narrower achenes, 0.75 to 1mm wide, while fescue sedge has achenes of 1 to 1.3mm width. Also, the styles of green-white sedge are bent near the base, toward the margin of the achene, while those of fescue sedge are bent towards the broad surface of the achene. The sedges from this group are notoriously difficult to separate.

Habitat

Swamps, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
2–3.5 mm
Lowest bract sheath
the lowest bract has no sheath (or a very short sheath up to four millimeters in length)
Spike on stalk
the lowest spike on the plant is not borne on a peduncle
Top spike
the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the staminate flowers located below the carpellate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium has no hairs
Perigynium length
2.6–4.5 mm
Leaf sheath color
the leaf sheath has no pink, red or purple tinting
Leaf blade texture
the leaf blade is smooth and hairless, or rough and sandpapery
Perigynium beak teeth
the perigynium beak is divided at the top into two teeth
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bumps on fruit
    there are no papillae on the perigynium surface
    Inflorescence length
    15–40 mm
    Length of scale
    the scale is nearly as long as, or longer than, the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    5–13 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    0 mm
    Lowest spike width
    4–6.5 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    Perigynium beak orientation
    the beak of the perigynium is curved, or angled out from the perigynium
    Perigynium beak serrations
    the perigynium beak has tiny serrations along the edges
    Perigynium beak teeth
    the perigynium beak is divided at the top into two teeth
    Perigynium color
    • green
    • tan
    Perigynium cross-section
    • the perigynium is planoconvex (flat on one surface and rounded on the other) in cross-section
    • the perigynium is relatively flat in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium has no hairs
    Perigynium length
    2.6–4.5 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    At least 8
    Perigynium nerve texture
    the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    At least 4
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    At least 4
    Perigynium orientation
    the perigynia are angled outwards
    Perigynium puffy
    the achene is tightly enclosed by the perigynium
    Perigynium shape
    the perigynium body is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Perigynium width
    1.5–2.7 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has wings on it
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike length
    0 mm
    Pollen-producing spike number
    0
    Pollen-producing spike peduncle length
    0 mm
    Pollen-producing spike width
    0 mm
    Scale awn
    The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    Scale awn texture
    NA
    Scale color
    • brown
    • white or translucent
    Scale length
    2.5–3.4 mm
    Scale tip
    the carpellate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    Spike on stalk
    the lowest spike on the plant is not borne on a peduncle
    Spike orientation
    the spikes are oriented vertically or pressed against the axis
    Spikes per stem
    2-15
    Stigma branching
    the stigmas have two branches
    Top spike
    the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the staminate flowers located below the carpellate flowers
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    Achene length
    1.3–1.7 mm
    Achene width
    0.75–1 mm
    Style persistence
    the style falls off the mature achenes
  • Growth form
    Rhizomes
    there are no rhizomes, or the rhizomes are very short
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    the leaves are mostly produced higher up on the plant
    Leaf blade cross-section
    The leaf blade is folded lengthwise, with one prominent midvien
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    45–71
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is smooth and hairless, or rough and sandpapery
    Leaf bumps
    the upper surface of the leaf blade does not have papillae
    Leaf sheath bumps
    there are no papillae at the top edge of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath color
    the leaf sheath has no pink, red or purple tinting
    Leaf sheath dots
    there are no dots on the leaf sheathes
    Leaf sheath folds
    there are no corrugations on the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth, and has no hairs
    Ligule length
    1.5–4.5 mm
    Lowest bract sheath
    the lowest bract has no sheath (or a very short sheath up to four millimeters in length)
    Lowest leaf blade width
    2–3.5 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    2–3.5 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • swamps
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    25–120 cm
    Relative stem height
    the main stem is taller than the leaves
    Spike internode length
    3–12 mm
    Stem cross-section
    the main stem is roughly triangular in cross-section
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
uncommon (uncertain) (S-rank: S3?)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex longii:
carpellate scales obtuse, perigynium beak triangular, and apical, herbaceous portion of leaf sheath minutely papillose (vs. C. albolutescens, with carpellate scales acute, perigynium beak slender, and apical, herbaceous portion of the leaf sheath smooth).
Carex festucacea:
some or all spikes with a pronounced, narrow, staminate base longer than 2 mm, inflorescence arching to nodding, and achenes ovate in outline (vs. C. albolutescens, with spikes with an inconspicuous staminate base shorter than 2 mm, inflorescence +/- erect, and achenes oblong in outline).

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

36.  Carex albolutescens Schwein. N

green-white sedge. CT, MA, RI, VT. Acidic swamps and wetland margins. This species is sometimes confused with Carex festucacea. In addition to characters used in the identification key, these species differ in achene width, style shape, and perigynium shape. Carex albolutescens has achenes 0.75–1 mm wide, styles that are laterally bent near the base (i.e., the bend is toward the margins of the achene), and obovate perigynia bodies. Carex festucacea has achenes 1–1.3 mm wide, styles that are straight or adaxially-abaxially bent (i.e., the bend is toward the broad surfaces of the achene), and orbicular to elliptic perigynia bodies.