Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Manhart's Sedge - Carex manhartii   Bryson
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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DistributionMountains only, apparently with a real gap in the middle.

Blue Ridge Mountains of VA, TN, NC, SC, and GA.
AbundanceUncommon in the southern Mountains, but rare in the northern ones; oddly very rare (though probably not truly absent) in the central Mountains. This is a Watch List species.
HabitatCove forests and montane oak-hickory forests, at medium to high elevations. Often over mafic or calcareous substrates. Such habitats and rock types are numerous in some central counties such as Madison and Buncombe, with still no known records.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-May.
IdentificationThe basal part of the plant is red-purple, as in relatives C. gracilescens and C. purpurifera. Perigynia of C. gracilescens are smaller (2.4-3.3 mm vs. 3.4-4.5 mm). In C. manhartii the leaflike bract of the terminal female spike exceeds the male spike (vs. shorter in C. purpurifera).
Taxonomic CommentsSplit off from C. purpurifera in 1985.

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)Blue Ridge Purple Sedge
State RankS3
Global RankG3G4
State StatusW1
US Status
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