Carex gracilescens Steud.
Family: Cyperaceae
Carex gracilescens image
Morton Arboretum  
Culms densely tufted, ascending, lax or, occasionally, decumbent, 13-78 cm × 0.8-1 mm. Leaves: basal sheaths purple or purple tinged; sheaths 2-42 mm; blades ascending or lax, erect, green or yellow-green, midrib developed adaxially, 2 lateral veins abaxially, 19-38 cm × 1-5 mm, blades of overwintering leaves smooth. Inflorescences: peduncles proximal pistillate spikes to 11 cm, distal spike sessile; staminate spike 0.5-10.6 cm. Bracts 0.5-11.2 cm × 0.5-4 mm, angles of bract sheath denticulate; bract blade of distal lateral spikes linear, narrower than spikes, not concealing them; widest bract blade of distalmost lateral spike 0.5-3.4 mm wide. Spikes (3-)4(-5) per culm; lateral spikes 5-27 × 3-4 mm; internode between proximal scales in proximal spike 1.1-3.2(-4.8) mm; terminal spike linear, 11-21 × 1-2.2 mm. Pistillate scales 2.8-3 × 1-1.2 mm, apex acute to aristate, awn to 1 mm. Staminate scales 3.5-4 × 1.2-1.5 mm, margins hyaline, purple-brown or brownish purple tinged, apex acute. Anthers 2.6-3 mm. Perigynia 4-12 per spike, closely overlapping, aggregated, ascending, conspicuously (22-)25-32-veined, elliptic-obovate, 2.8-3 × 1.5-1.8 mm, 1.8-2.7 times long as wide; beak abruptly bent, 0.2-0.8 mm. Achenes obovoid, 2.6-2.8 × 1.3-1.6 mm. 2n = 33, 38, 40. Fruiting spring. Moist to dry deciduous or mixed deciduous-evergreen forests or woodland edges in partial shade, frequently on limestone or chalk, on clay or marl soils, stream bottoms or on steep slopes; 0-600 m; Ont.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va., Wis.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Common in low woods and on wooded slopes. It is generally less plentiful where found than is C. blanda at its stations.


Indiana Coefficient of Conservatism: C =5

Wetland Indicator Status: n/a

Tufted, 2-8 dm, fertile stems mostly roughened on the angles; basal sheaths purple; lvs not glaucous, those of both fertile and sterile shoots 1-5 mm wide, or the latter larger, to 10 mm wide; angles of the bract-sheaths usually minutely ciliate-serrulate; terminal spike staminate, 0.6-2.5 cm, subsessile to evidently pedunculate; pistillate spikes 2-4, scattered but none basal, slender, 1-3 cm; pistillate scales cuspidate to short-awned; perigynia 4-18, only slightly overlapping (or the lowest scarcely so), 2.2-3 mm, finely many-nerved as well as 2-ribbed, obtusely trigonous, ellipsoid to obovoid, abruptly contracted to a short, abruptly bent beak with an entire orifice; achene trigonous; 2n=40. Sandy or rocky woods and open, sometimes disturbed sites, often calciphile; Que. and Vt. to Ga. and nw. Fla., w. to Wis., e. Nebr., and e. Okla. (C. laxiflora var. gracillima; C. ormostachya, largely northern, with the angles of the bract-sheaths merely granular)

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.