Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Brome-like Sedge + - Carex bromoides ssp. bromoides   Willdenow
Members of Cyperaceae:
Members of Carex with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
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AuthorWilldenow
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain and southern low Mountains, scarce in Piedmont. Absent from Sandhills proper.

N.B. to MN south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceSporadic occurrences across much of NC. Plants are usually scattered in suitable habitat, but sometimes locally common.
HabitatFloodplain forests and bottomlands, in seasonally inundated, nutrient-rich soils.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-July.
IdentificationOnce learned, the straw or tan color of the spikes and the leaning or lazy stems are helpful characters. The perigynia are narrowly lance-shaped (0.8-1.3 mm wide) with a beak 1.2-2.2 mm long. Var. bromoides can be told from var. montana mainly by its narrower leaf blades (1.3-3 mm vs. 2.8-4.4 in var. montana).
Taxonomic CommentsCarex bromoides var. montana was split off in a 1990 paper.

The genus Carex is the largest in North America, and among the largest in the world. In temperate and boreal regions, Carex is often the dominant or co-dominant ground layer in many habitats. Seeds (achenes) are valuable food for birds and small mammals, while foliage is used by birds and mammals to make nests and as food by mammals. Species of Carex often look vastly different from one another -- spikes erect vs. drooping, tiny inflorescence vs. whopping, culms leafy vs. naked, perigynia beaked vs. beakless, stems densely bunched vs. single, etc. The genus has been divided into many sections (or groups), based on shared characters; some taxonomists have suggested that these be different genera, but that proves unworkable (so far). All Carex share the feature of a perigynium (an outer covering) which completely surrounds the achene (seed). This covering may fit tightly or loosely (like a small bladder), depending on which group or species. Details of perigynia shape, ornamentation, presence and size of beak, number of striations (or veins) are all important ID features. In recent years Rob Naczi and colleagues have stressed the importance of arrangement of perigynia -- whether spiral (3+ ranks) or distichous (2-ranked) -- and have named a number of new species as well as split off some older synonyms. Therefore, RAB's (1968) key, excellent for its time, can only be used in a general way today. Members of some sections of Carex are difficult to key out (notably Ovales, Laxiflorae, Griseae); this is in part due to variation among individuals of a species, or failings of the key. FNA has drawings of most species and some species may be found in two or more places within a key, to acount for variability. New species to NC, and new to science(!), continue to be found in NC.
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