Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Goldenfruit Sedge - Carex aureolensis   Steudel
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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DistributionPoorly known for NC, as specimens of C. frankii in herbaria other than UNC-Chapel Hill have not yet been checked for presence of C. aureolensis. This species is likely to occur in many more counties than our map shows.

VA to NE south to FL and NM.
AbundancePreliminary data suggest uncommon. The website editors for now suggest a State Rank of S2?, but it could just as easily be SU (undetermined); a Watch List status is also suggested.
HabitatFloodplain forests, bottomlands, margins of ponds and lakes.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-July.
IdentificationCarex aureolensis can be separated from C. frankii by its wider female scales (0.4-1.1 mm vs. 0.1-0.4 mm) and wider male scales whose tips do not spread outward.
Taxonomic CommentsFor nearly 150 years C. aureolensis has been lumped into C. frankii; botanists are only just now untangling their identification and habitat preferences.

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)Golden Cattail Sedge
State Rank[S2?]
Global RankGNR
State Status[W7]
US Status
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