Carex scoparia Schkuhr ex Willd.

pointed broom 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

The inflorescences of this species can be quite variable: crowded or spread out, stiff or arching. There are two distinct varieties in New England, one (Carex scoparia var. scoparia) being common throughout New England, while the other (C. scoparia var. tessellata) is found only in eastern Maine.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
1.4–3.5 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
4.2–6.8 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
    • the perigynium surface has papillae on it
    • there are no papillae on the perigynium surface
    Inflorescence length
    15–60 mm
    Length of scale
    the scale is shorter than the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    7–16 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    0 mm
    Lowest spike width
    3–13 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    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
    • 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 relatively flat in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium has no hairs
    Perigynium length
    4.2–6.8 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    Up to 10
    Perigynium nerve texture
    the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    5
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    Up to 5
    Perigynium orientation
    • the perigynia are angled outwards
    • 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 lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the perigynium body is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the perigynium body is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the perigynium body is ovate (egg-shaped)
    Perigynium width
    1.2–2.1 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
    3.4–4 mm
    Scale tip
    the carpellate scale tip is acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    Spike on stalk
    the lowest spike on the plant is not borne on 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
    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
    0.7–0.9 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
    71–91
    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
    2.3–4.8 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
    1.4–3.5 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    1.4–3.5 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    20–100 cm
    Relative stem height
    the main stem is taller than the leaves
    Spike internode length
    2–18 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
present
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)

var. scoparia

Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?

Yes

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

56.  Carex scoparia Schkuhr ex Willd. N

pointed broom sedge. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Xeric to hydric open soils such as fields, roadsides, ditches, and wetland edges.

1a.  Carpellate scales and apex of perigynium stramineous to gold-brown, of relatively similar color as body of perigynium and not contrasting with it; perigynia 4.2–6.8 mm long, (2.5–) 2.8–4 times as long as wide; inflorescence with spikes aggregated to separate 
 … 56a. C. scoparia var. scoparia

1b.  Carpellate scales and apex of perigynium red-brown, dark brown, or nearly black, sharply contrasting with color of perigynium body; perigynia 4.2–5 mm long, 2–2.6 times as long as wide; inflorescence with aggregated spikes … 56b. C. scoparia var. tessellata Fern. & Wieg.

Variety scoparia is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Variety tessellata is known only from eastern ME (within New England). It has narrower leaves and thinner stems than sympatric plants of C. scoparia var. scoparia and should probably be treated as a distinct species.