Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Cypress-swamp Sedge - Carex joorii   L.H. Bailey
Members of Carex with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Cyperaceae
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AuthorL.H. Bailey
DistributionLower Piedmont, Sandhills, and inner Coastal Plain; scattered elsewhere on the Coastal Plain.

MD to northwestern FL to eastern TX, inland to TN, MO, OK.
AbundanceInfrequent to frequent in the lower Piedmont, Sandhills, and part of the Coastal Plain, but rare toward the coast.
HabitatUpland depression pools, pools and low spots in floodplains; usually where Willow Oak (Quercus phellos) dominates. Also wet flats in maritime evergreen forests and shrubby pocosin-like depressions in the Sandhills. Tends to occur in shallow, often ephemeral, standing water.
See also Habitat Account for General Sedge, Grass, and Rush Mires
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late July-Oct.
IdentificationNote the late flowering period! This alone completely separates it from C. verrucosa and from most populations of C. glaucescens. From the latter also by the acute apex of each female scale (vs. truncate or retuse). Also note the erect spikes, which remain so into winter (eventually arching to drooping in C. glaucescens).
Taxonomic CommentsNone

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.
Other Common Name(s)Joor's Sedge, Hummock Sedge
State RankS3 [S4]
Global RankG4G5
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BA SorrieCarolina Beach SP, wet woods by marina parking lot. New HanoverBIPhoto_natural
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