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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 23 | Cyperaceae | Carex

364. Carex houghtoniana Torrey ex Dewey, Amer. J. Sci. Arts. 30: 63, plate Bb, fig. 91. 1836.

Carex de Houghton

Plants colonial; rhizomes long-creeping. Culms lateral, trigonous, 20–80(–100) cm, scabrous-angled. Leaves: basal sheaths reddish purple, bladeless, apex of inner band glabrous; ligules 1.5–14 mm; blades green, M-shaped, 2.8–8.5 mm wide, glabrous. Inflorescences 4.5–23 cm; proximal (1–)2–3(–4) spikes pistillate, ascending; distal spikes erect; terminal 1–3 spikes staminate. Pistillate scales lanceolate to ovate, apex acute to acuminate-awned, glabrous, scabrous-ciliate apically. Perigynia ascending to spreading, 16–22-veined, broadly ovoid to broadly ellipsoid, 4.5–6.5 × 2–2.9 mm, cellular details and veination clear, sparsely short-pubescent; beak 1.2–2 mm, bidentulate, teeth straight, 0.5–0.8 mm.

Fruiting Jun–Aug. Dry to moist sandy or gravelly soils in open, disturbed sites, rocky balds, ledges; 0–1000 m; Alta., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.S., Ont., Que., Sask.; Ill., Maine, Mich., Minn., N.H., N.Y., Vt., Wis.

Carex houghtoniana responds strongly to fire and other disturbances, appearing quickly, presumably from the seedbank, then often dying out in a few years if the disturbance is not repeated.

The epithet is often, but not originally, spelled “houghtonii.”


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