Carex stricta Lam.

tussock 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

Tussock sedge gets its name from the prominent tussocks that form in seasonally flooded sites. In drier sites, the plants have a more spread out form.

Habitat

Marshes, meadows and fields, shores of rivers or lakes, swamps

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
4–6 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
  • 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
  • the uppermost spike contains only staminate flowers
Perigynium hairs
the perigynium has no hairs
Perigynium length
1.7–3.4 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
    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
    • the scale is shorter than the perigynium
    Lowest spike length
    16–108 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    At least 0 mm
    Lowest spike width
    3–5 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has a beak
    Perigynium beak length
    0.1–0.2 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 planoconvex (flat on one surface and rounded on the other) in cross-section
    • the perigynium is relatively flat in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium has no hairs
    Perigynium length
    1.7–3.4 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    0–10
    Perigynium nerve texture
    the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    0–5
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    0–5
    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 ovate (egg-shaped)
    Perigynium width
    0.8–1.8 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    Pollen- and seed-producing spikes
    some of the spikes produce perigynia
    Pollen-producing spike number
    2–3
    Scale awn
    The carpellate scale does not have an awn (it may have a short point)
    Scale awn texture
    NA
    Scale color
    • red-brown
    • tan
    Scale tip
    the carpellate scale tip is acute (has a sharp point)
    Spike on stalk
    • the lowest spike on the plant has a peduncle
    • 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
    2-15
    Staminate scale tip
    the staminate scale tip is obtuse (has a blunt point)
    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
    • 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 long rhizomes present
    • 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 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 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 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
    4–6 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels rough
    stem leaf blade width
    4–6 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • marshes
    • meadows or fields
    • shores of rivers or lakes
    • swamps
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    50–150 cm
    Relative stem height
    the main stem is equal to or shorter 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
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

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

Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex haydenii:
leaves usually shorter than the flower stem and scales subtending the perigynia longer than the perigynia (vs. C. stricta, with leaves usually as tall as or taller than the flower stem and scales subtending the perigynia shorter than the perigynia).

Synonyms

  • Carex stricta var. strictior (Dewey) Carey
  • Carex strictior Dewey

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

141.  Carex stricta Lam. N

tussock sedge. Carex stricta Lam. var. strictior (Dewey) Carey; C. strictior Dewey • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Swamps, marshes, shorelines, and low fields. Plants from very wet habitats tend 
to have cespitose stems (sometimes producing conspicuous clumps of stems) and poorly formed rhizomes. Plants from drier habitats tend to be long-rhizomatous and do not produce clumps of stems. These two forms have been named, but they do intergrade.

139×141. Carex paleacea × Carex stricta This rare sedge hybrid is known from MA, ME, NH. It is very similar to Carex recta and C. vacillans (see identification key). It can be separated from both by its leaf blades that usually lack stomates on the adaxial surface (present in both of the aforementioned species) and its relatively consistent production of prominently ladder-fibrillose basal leaf sheaths (this feature usually lacking in the aforementioned species). From C. recta it is further distinguished by its nerved perigynia (usually 1–4 ± prominent veins on mature perigynia) and by its nearly complete sterility ( C. recta usually produces many mature achenes). From C. vacillans it is further distinguished by its relatively broad, pale central band on the carpellate scales, narrower perigynium apex (acute 
in this hybrid, rounded or nearly so in C. vacillans), and absence of scabrules about the orifice of the perigynia beak.