Carex virescens Muhl. ex Willd.

ribbed 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

Ribbed sedge is a sedge of dry to moist forests, like the similar Swan's sedge (Carex swanii). The two can be distinguished by the length of the uppermost spike of the inflorescence (in ribbed sedge it is 20 - 35 mm or longer, in Swan's sedge it is no more than 20 mm long). In ribbed sedge, the anthers are also longer at 1.6 - 2 mm, whereas in Swan's sedge they are shorter at 0.7 - 1.3 mm.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
stem leaf blade width
2–4 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
  • 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 is hairy
Perigynium length
1.9–2.5 mm
Leaf sheath color
the leaf sheath is tinted pink, red or purple
Leaf blade texture
the leaf blade is hairy
Perigynium beak teeth
NA
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1–2.8 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
    18–35 mm
    Lowest spike stalk length
    At least 0 mm
    Lowest spike width
    2.5–3.5 mm
    Perigynium beak
    the perigynium has no beak, or an extremely short beak
    Perigynium beak length
    0 mm
    Perigynium beak orientation
    NA
    Perigynium beak serrations
    NA
    Perigynium beak teeth
    NA
    Perigynium beak teeth length
    0 mm
    Perigynium color
    green
    Perigynium cross-section
    the perigynium is trigonous (triangular) in cross-section
    Perigynium hairs
    the perigynium is hairy
    Perigynium length
    1.9–2.5 mm
    Perigynium nerve number
    7–12
    Perigynium nerve texture
    the nerves on the perigynium are raised, even after drying the perigynium
    Perigynium nerves lower side
    3–6
    Perigynium nerves upper side
    3–6
    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)
    Perigynium width
    1–1.4 mm
    Perigynium winged
    the perigynium has no wings
    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)
    • 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
    • green
    • white or translucent
    Scale length
    1.5–3.2 mm
    Scale tip
    • the carpellate scale tip is acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    • 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
    • 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 acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    • 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
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene dimples
    the achene has no folds or dimples
    Achene length
    1.5–2 mm
    Achene width
    0.8–1.1 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 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 hairy
    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
    2–4 mm
    Lowest leaf sheath texture
    the leaf sheath feels smooth (it may have soft hairs)
    stem leaf blade width
    2–4 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    30–100 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

Not classified

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
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Carex swanii:
uppermost spike mostly 11-20 mm long and densely flowered throughout (vs. C. virescens, with the uppermost spike mostly 20-35 mm long and loosely flowered near the base).

Synonyms

  • Carex costata Schwein.

Family

Cyperaceae

Genus

Carex

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

161.  Carex virescens Muhl. ex Willd. N

ribbed sedge. Carex costata Schwein. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Dry-mesic to mesic, 
deciduous forests.

92×161. Carex gracillima × Carex virescens This very rare sedge hybrid is known from CT. It generally resembles Carex virescens in the narrow and elongate spikes and pubescent leaf blades. However, the perigynia are very sparsely pubescent (i.e., the hairs are easily missed without careful examination), some leaf blades are glabrous or nearly so, and the two lateral veins of the leaf blades are more prominent than the midvein on the adaxial surface.