Carex magellanica Lam.

boreal bog sedge

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Boreal bog sedge has a bipolar disjunt distribution, meaning that our subspecies (Carex magellanica ssp. irrigua) inhabits northern temperate regions, while another subspecies (C. magellanica ssp. magellanica) occurs in the cool, temperate regions of South America.

Habitat

Bogs, fens (calcium-rich wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
1–4 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 has a peduncle
Top spike
  • the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the staminate flowers located below the carpellate flowers
  • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium has no hairs
Perigynium length
2.5–3.6 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
    1.6–2.5 mm
    Bumps on fruit
    the perigynium surface has papillae on it
    Length of scale
    the scale is nearly as long as, or longer than, the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    6–22 mm
    Lowest spike width
    4–8 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has no beak, or an extremely short beak
    Perigynium beak length
    0–0.2 mm
    Perigynium beak orientation
    the beak of the perigynium is straight, and in line with 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
    green
    Perigynium cross-section
    • the perigynium is relatively round in cross-section
    • the perigynium is trigonous (triangular) in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium has no hairs
    Perigynium length
    2.5–3.6 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    3–14
    Perigynium nerve texture
    the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    3–7
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    0–7
    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 elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the perigynium body is ovate (egg-shaped)
    Perigynium width
    1.8–2.5 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike length
    7–20 mm
    Pollen-producing spike number
    0–1
    Pollen-producing spike width
    1–4 mm
    Scale awn
    • The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    • the carpellate scale has an awn on it
    Scale awn texture
    • NA
    • the carpellate scale awn does not have teeth (it may or may not have hairs)
    Scale color
    • brown
    • green
    Scale length
    2.8–7 mm
    Scale tip
    • the carpellate scale tip is acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    • the carpellate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    Spike on stalk
    the lowest spike on the plant has a peduncle
    Spike orientation
    • the spikes are angled outwards, or arched over
    • the spikes are bent downwards or droop downwards
    Spikes per stem
    2-15
    Staminate scale tip
    • the staminate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    • the staminate scale tip is obtuse (has a blunt point)
    Stigma branching
    the stigmas have three branches
    Top spike
    • the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the staminate flowers located below the carpellate flowers
    • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    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 all produced from the base of the plant
    Leaf blade cross-section
    The leaf blade is folded lengthwise, with one prominent midvien
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is smooth and hairless, or rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    1–4 mm
    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 red dots on the translucent tissues of 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 no sheath (or a very short sheath up to four millimeters in length)
    Lowest leaf blade width
    1–4 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • bogs
    • fens (calcium-rich wetlands)
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    10–80 cm
    Relative stem height
    the main stem is taller than the leaves
    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

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Connecticut
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. irrigua

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. magellanica

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex limosa:
scales subtending the perigynia shorter than the perigynia and primary bract of inflorescence shorter than inflorescence (vs. C. magellanica, with scales subtending the perigynia longer than the perigynia and primary bract of inflorescence usually as tall as or taller than the inflorescence).

Synonyms

  • Carex limosa var. irrigua Wahlenb.
  • Carex paupercula Michx.
  • Carex paupercula Michx. var. irrigua (Wahlenb.) Fern.

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our subspecies is Carex magellanica Lam. ssp. irrigua (Wahlenb.) Hiitonen.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

107.  Carex magellanica Lam. ssp. irrigua (Wahlenb.) Hiitonen N

boreal bog sedge. Carex limosa L. var. irrigua Wahlenb.; C. paupercula Michx.; C. paupercula Michx. var.  irrigua (Wahlenb.) Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. Bogs and fens, usually in the open, away from deep shade.