Carex albursina Sheldon

white bear sedge

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

White bear sedge is one of the easier sedges to identify, due to its pale green vegetative blades up to 52 mm wide. It can also be distinguished by its large leafy bracts exceeding the spikelets in length, and the curved beaks of the perigynia. The color at the basal portion of the plant is mostly pale brown to brown. It is found in rocky rich-mesic forests.

Habitat

Forests, ridges or ledges

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
4–16 mm
Lowest bract sheath
the lowest bract has a sheath longer than four millimeters
Spike on stalk
the lowest spike on the plant has a peduncle
Top spike
the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium has no hairs
Perigynium length
3–4.2 mm
Leaf sheath color
  • the leaf sheath has no pink, red or purple tinting
  • the leaf sheath is tinted pink, red or purple
Leaf blade texture
the leaf blade is smooth and hairless, or rough and sandpapery
Perigynium beak teeth
the perigynium beak is not divided at the tip into two teeth, or the teeth are very tiny
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    2–2.2 mm
    Bumps on fruit
    there are no papillae on the perigynium surface
    Length of scale
    the scale is shorter than the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    6–36 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    Up to 58 mm
    Lowest spike width
    3–4.2 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    Perigynium beak length
    0.3–0.6 mm
    Perigynium beak orientation
    the beak of the perigynium is curved, or angled out from the perigynium
    Perigynium beak serrations
    the perigynium beak has no serrations
    Perigynium beak teeth
    the perigynium beak is not divided at the tip into two teeth, or the teeth are very tiny
    Perigynium beak teeth length
    0 mm
    Perigynium color
    • brown
    • yellow
    Perigynium cross-section
    the perigynium is trigonous (triangular) in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium has no hairs
    Perigynium length
    3–4.2 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    At least 16
    Perigynium nerve texture
    the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    At least 8
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    At least 8
    Perigynium orientation
    the perigynia are oriented vertically or pressed against the axis or adjacent perigynia
    Perigynium puffy
    the perigynium is inflated (there is space between the perigynium and the achene)
    Perigynium shape
    the perigynium body is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Perigynium width
    1.8–2.1 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike length
    4–18 mm
    Pollen-producing spike number
    1
    Pollen-producing spike peduncle length
    0 mm
    Pollen-producing spike width
    1.2–1.6 mm
    Scale awn
    The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    Scale awn texture
    NA
    Scale color
    • green
    • white or translucent
    Scale length
    2.8–3.2 mm
    Scale tip
    the carpellate scale tip is obtuse (has a blunt point)
    Spike on stalk
    the lowest spike on the plant has a peduncle
    Spike orientation
    the spikes are oriented vertically or pressed against the axis
    Spikes per stem
    2-15
    Staminate scale tip
    the staminate scale tip is obtuse (has a blunt point)
    Stigma branching
    the stigmas have three branches
    Top spike
    the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    Achene length
    2.5–3.8 mm
    Achene width
    1.6–1.8 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 flat or M-shaped, with two prominent side-veins
    Leaf blade length to width ratio
    6–10
    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
    • the leaf sheath is tinted pink, red or purple
    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
    Lowest bract sheath
    the lowest bract has a sheath longer than four millimeters
    Lowest leaf blade width
    10–52 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    4–16 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • ridges or ledges
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    10–62 cm
    Relative stem height
    the main stem is taller than the leaves
    Stem cross-section
    the main stem has all three edges raised to narrow wing-like ridges
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Rhode Island
concern (code: C)
Vermont
uncommon (S-rank: S3)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex laxiflora:
bract blade of distal-most lateral spike 0.5-3.4 mm wide, not concealing the spike, and stems 0.8-2 mm wide, unwinged or weakly winged (vs. C. albursina, with bract blade of distal-most lateral spike 3.2-8.3 mm wide, spathe-like and concealing the spike, and shoots, and stems 2-2.4 mm wide, distinctly winged).

Synonyms

  • Carex laxiflora Lam. var. latifolia Boott

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

95.  Carex albursina Sheldon N

white bear sedge. Carex laxiflora Lam. var. latifolia Boott • CT, MA, NH, VT. Rich, mesic forests, often rocky or with ledge outcrops.