Carex cristatella Britton
Common Name: SEDGE
Coefficient of Conservatism: 3
Coefficient of Wetness: -3
Wetness Index: FACW
Physiognomy: Nt P-Sedge

Carex cristatella B. S. Walters

Swamps (deciduous or coniferous) and thickets, swales, marshes, shores, ditches, and meadows; rarely in drier sites; a common species.

Carex cristatella, C. projecta, and C. tribuloides are a trio of closely related species, that all have leaf sheaths that are loose – “baggy,” – expanding near the apex to be significantly larger than the culm diameter, vegetative culms that become elongated and leafy, especially after fruiting, and which have the capability of persisting over winter and, if on a suitable substrate, forming new shoots and roots at the nodes to function in vegetative reproduction. 

The species, however, can be hard to distinguish, especially with immature material. Carex cristatella is the most distinctive in fruit, with ± globular spikes with perigynium beaks widely spreading, the lowermost even ± reflexed. The inflorescences tend to be fairly compact and stiff and straight, except often bent above the lowest spike. Carex projecta has spikes distinctly wider than long, with perigynia spreading. The inflorescences are arching or even ± nodding, with the spikes separated and ± spreading, except in depauperate material. Carex tribuloides has spikes clearly longer than wide with appressed-ascending perigynia, and usually dense straight and stiff inflorescences with strongly ascending spikes.

Carex projecta is the earliest to fruit, with mature but green perigynia as early as mid-June, and ripe, brown shedding perigynia by early July; a little later, of course, near Lake Superior. Carex cristatella is later maturing, with ripe, but green perigynia from late June southward, and shedding brown perigynia from late July in the south to mid-August in northern Michigan. Carex tribuloides is latest, with ripe, but green perigynia starting by early to mid-July, and brown shedding perigynia starting only in August. 

 See also the notes under Carex bebbii. The spikes are more separated than usual in f. catelliformis (Farw.) Fernald, which thus resembles C. projecta, except for the globular  spikes.

 

Locations

Alcona County
Allegan County
Alpena County
Arenac County
Barry County
Bay County
Benzie County
Berrien County
Branch County
Calhoun County
Charlevoix County
Cheboygan County
Clare County
Clinton County
Crawford County
Dickinson County
Eaton County
Emmet County
Genesee County
Gladwin County
Gratiot County
Houghton County
Huron County
Ingham County
Ionia County
Iosco County
Isabella County
Jackson County
Kalamazoo County
Kalkaska County
Kent County
Keweenaw County
    Including Isle Royale
Lake County
Lapeer County
Leelanau County
Lenawee County
Livingston County
Macomb County
Marquette County
Mecosta County
Menominee County
Midland County
Missaukee County
Monroe County
Montcalm County
Muskegon County
Newaygo County
Oakland County
Ogemaw County
Osceola County
Ottawa County
Presque Isle County
Roscommon County
Saginaw County
Schoolcraft County
Shiawassee County
St. Clair County
St. Joseph County
Tuscola County
Van Buren County
Washtenaw County
Wayne County

Citation:

MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. July 22, 2018. https://michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=940.