Carex richardsonii R. Br.

Richardson's 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

Richardson's sedge is common in Canada, and only sneaks into New England via a single site in Manchester, Vermont. This makes it highly vulnerable in New England, and this population is monitored regularly for negative impacts such as successional encroachment of woody plants, or damage by hikers.

Habitat

Woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Vermont
stem leaf blade width
0.9–3.3 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 both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the carpellate flowers located below, or intermixed with, the staminate flowers
  • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium is hairy
Perigynium length
2.4–2.9 mm
Leaf sheath color
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
    2.1–2.6 mm
    Bumps on fruit
    there are no papillae on the perigynium surface
    Length of scale
    the scale is nearly as long as, or longer than, the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    10–20 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    Up to 70 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    Perigynium beak length
    0.2–0.5 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
    0–0.8 mm
    Perigynium color
    • brown
    • green
    • tan
    Perigynium cross-section
    • the perigynium is relatively round in cross-section
    • the perigynium is trigonous (triangular) in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium is hairy
    Perigynium length
    2.4–2.9 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    0–4
    Perigynium nerve texture
    • NA
    • the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    0–2
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    0–2
    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 oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the perigynium body is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Perigynium width
    1–1.3 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike length
    17.4–23 mm
    Pollen-producing spike number
    0–1
    Pollen-producing spike peduncle length
    3.3–15.7 mm
    Pollen-producing spike width
    2.5–3.8 mm
    Scale awn
    The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    Scale awn texture
    NA
    Scale color
    red-brown
    Scale tip
    • the carpellate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    • 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 acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    • the staminate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    Stigma branching
    the stigmas have three branches
    Top spike
    • the uppermost spike contains both staminate and carpellate flowers, with the carpellate flowers located below, or intermixed with, the staminate flowers
    • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    Achene length
    1.7–1.8 mm
    Achene width
    1.1–1.2 mm
    Style persistence
    the style falls off the mature achenes
  • Growth form
    Rhizomes
    there are long rhizomes present
  • 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 length to width ratio
    61–111
    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 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
    0.9–3.3 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    • the leaf sheath feels rough
    • the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    0.9–3.3 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Vermont
    Specific habitat
    woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    14–32 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 non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: UPL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex pedunculata:
perigynia 3.7-6 mm long, carpellate scales cuspidate, and leaf blades dark green (vs. C. richardsonii, with perigynia 2.4-2.9 mm long, carpellate scales without a cusp, and leaf blades pale green).

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

32.  Carex richardsonii R. Br. NC

Richardson’s sedge. VT. Woodlands in high-pH bedrock regions.