Carex scirpoidea Michx.

Canadian single-spike 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

Canadian single-spike sedge is a boreal and subalpine species of high-pH bedrock, that is occasionally found in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This is an atypical sedge in that it is dioecious (individual plants having either male or female reproductive structures, but not both). Also, it typically has only one spike per inflorescence.

Habitat

Alpine or subalpine zones, cliffs, balds, or ledges, ridges or ledges

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
1–3 mm
Lowest bract sheath
the lowest bract has no sheath (or a very short sheath up to four millimeters in length)
Spike on stalk
  • NA
  • the lowest spike on the plant is not borne on a peduncle
Top spike
  • entirely carpellate
  • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium is hairy
Perigynium length
1.8–3 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 divided at the top into two teeth
  • the perigynium beak is not divided at the tip into two teeth, or the teeth are very tiny
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    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
    • the scale is shorter than the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    10–30 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    0 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    Perigynium beak length
    0.1 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 divided at the top into two 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
    green
    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
    1.8–3 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    At least 0
    Perigynium nerve texture
    • NA
    • the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    At least 0
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    At least 0
    Perigynium orientation
    the perigynia are oriented vertically or pressed against the axis or adjacent perigynia
    Perigynium puffy
    the achene is tightly enclosed by the perigynium
    Perigynium shape
    the perigynium body is ovate (egg-shaped)
    Perigynium width
    1–1.5 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    • all the spikes produce only pollen
    • some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike number
    0–1
    Pollen-producing spike peduncle length
    0 mm
    Scale awn
    The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    Scale awn texture
    NA
    Scale color
    • purple to black
    • red-brown
    Scale length
    2.5 mm
    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
    • NA
    • 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
    • 1
    • 2-15
    Stigma branching
    the stigmas have three branches
    Top spike
    • entirely carpellate
    • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    Achene length
    1.5–1.8 mm
    Achene width
    0.8–1.2 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 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 rough, or has 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
    1–3 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    1–3 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Maine
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • alpine or subalpine zones
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • ridges or ledges
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    5–40 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

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

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
absent
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.

Maine
rare (S-rank: S2), special concern (code: SC)
New Hampshire
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
Vermont
rare (S-rank: S2)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Carex scirpiformis Mackenzie

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

167.  Carex scirpoidea Michx. ssp. scirpoidea NC

Canadian single-spike sedge. Carex scirpiformis Mackenzie • ME, NH, VT. Boreal and subalpine ridges, cliffs, and basins, usually on high-pH substrate.