Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Rosy Sedge - Carex rosea   Schkuhr ex 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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AuthorSchkuhr ex Willdenow
DistributionMostly Mountains and Piedmont; scattered in the central and upper Coastal Plain. The majority of records of purported Carex "rosea" have not been carefully vetted; specimens need to be examined, as many are likely to be C. radiata. See also C. radiata and C. appalachica.

N.S. to Man. south to northwestern FL and TX.
AbundanceFairly common to common in the Piedmont and Mountains, though this status may change with additional study (i.e., some specimens purported to be this species might be C. radiata). Rare in the Coastal Plain.
HabitatDry to dry-mesic hardwoods and pine-hardwood forests, often in circumneutral or basic soils.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Dry-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late April-June.
IdentificationClosely related to C. radiata and C. appalachica. It differs from C. radiata and C. socialis by its usually tightly coiled stigmas, seen even when in fruit (vs. usually slightly coiled in the other two). From C. appalachica, told by its wider leaf blades (1.8-2.6 mm vs. 0.9-1.5 mm).
Taxonomic CommentsSpecies split from the former Carex rosea (broad sense) include C. appalachica and C. socialis. Formerly, the name C. rosea was misapplied to C. radiata, causing much confusion.

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)None
State RankS4 [S5]
Global RankG5
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