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Key to Carex, [26qq] Section 30 Vesicariae: section Vesicariae [including 52 - Pseudocypereae]

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1 Pistillate scales with a prominent, scabrous awn (the body of the scale often ciliate as well).
  2 Plants extensively colonial from elongate, creeping rhizomes; staminate scales acute to acuminate, essentially smooth-margined except at the very tip; perigynia 7-11-nerved
  2 Plants densely to loosely cespitose, the rhizomes connecting individual culms in a clump < 10 cm long; staminate scales (at least some of them) with a distinct, scabrous awn; perigynia 6-25-nerved.
    3 Perigynia 6-12-nerved, the nerves separate nearly to the beak apex; perigynium bodies broadly ellipsoid to more or less globose, (1.8-) 2.0-4.2 mm wide; achenes rough-papillate.
      4 Spikes 9-14 (-15) mm thick; widest leaves 2.4-4.0 (-5) mm wide; spikes usually 2.5-3.5× as long as wide; perigynia 4.8-6.6 (-7.6) mm long, the beaks usually 0.7-1.3× as long as the body
      4 Spikes (12-) 15-22 mm thick; widest leaves (4.0-) 4.5-13 mm wide; spikes usually < 2.5× as long as wide if < 15 mm thick; perigynia (6-) 6.5 (-10.8) mm long, the beaks 0.6-0.9× as long as the body
    3 Perigynia 12-25-nerved, the nerves (except for 2 prominent laterals) confluent at or below the middle of the beak; perigynium bodies ellipsoid to lance-ovoid, 1.1-2.2 mm wide; achenes smooth.
        5 Perigynia spreading to ascending, herbaceous, ± inflated, terete to somewhat flattened, many veins separated by more than 3× their width; longest beak teeth 0.3-0.9 mm long
        5 Perigynia ± reflexed when mature, leathery, uninflated, compressed-triangular, strongly and closely veined with most veins separated by less than 2× their width; longest beak teeth 0.7-2.1 (-2.8) mm long.
          6 Spikes 12-18 mm thick; beak teeth strongly out-curved, longest 1.3-2.1 (-2.8) mm long
          6 Spikes 9-12 mm thick; beak teeth straight or slightly out-curved, longest teeth 0.7-1.2 (-1.4) mm long
1 Pistillate scales smooth-margined, obtuse to acuminate, awnless (rarely the lowermost scales awned in C. utriculata).
             7 Leaves filiform-involute, wiry, (0.5-) 1-3 (-3.2) mm wide; stems smooth, round or obtusely trigonous in cross-section; [rare, in cool temperate peatlands northward and limited to high elevation mountain bogs southward]
             7 Leaves flat, U-, V-, or W-shaped in cross-section, the widest 1.5-12 (-15) mm wide; stems often scabrous-angled, round to trigonous; [collectively widespread].
               8 Achenes asymmetrical, deeply indented or invaginated on one face; widest perigynia (4.0-) 4.5-7 mm wide; beaks 2.4-4.8 mm long, smooth
               8 Achenes symmetrical; widest perigynia (2-) 2.5-3.5 (-4.5) mm wide; beaks 1-4.2 (-4.8) mm long, scabrous or smooth.
                 9 Perigynium beaks finely scabrous (at least near the tip and on the teeth), 2.4-4.2 (-4.8) mm long; widest leaves 1.8-4.3 (-5) mm wide.
                   10 Pistillate spikes mostly >2× longer than wide, cylindrical in outline; [s. Appalachians and ne US]
                   10 Pistillate spikes mostly <1.5× longer than wide, globose in outline; [widespread]
                 9 Perigynium beaks smooth, 1-4.5 mm long; widest leaves 1.5-15 mm wide.
                     11 Pistillate spikes globose or short ovoid, ca. 3-20-flowered; [plants of the Coastal Plain from e. NC southward]
                     11 Pistillate spikes cylindric, ca. 20-150-flowered; [plants collectively of the Mountains, from nw. NC northward].
                       12 Bract of lowest pistillate spike (excepting isolated spikes from long-sheathing bracts on the lower part of the stem) (2.5-) 3-9× as long as the inflorescence; staminate spike often 1, slightly (if at all) elevated above the summit of the crowded pistillate spikes; perigynia reflexed
                       12 Bract of lowest pistillate spike (excepting isolated spikes from long-sheathing bracts on the lower part of the stem) 0.5-2.5× as long as the inflorescence; staminate spikes 2-4 (-5), well elevated above the summit of the crowded pistillate spikes; perigynia spreading or ascending.
                          13 Plant colonial from long-creeping rhizomes; widest leaves (4.5-) 5-12 (-15) mm wide; ligules about as long as wide; basal sheaths usually spongy-thickened and only slightly or not red-tinged
                          13 Plant cespitose; widest leaves 1.8-6.5 mm wide; ligules longer than wide; basal sheaths not spongy-thickened and often tinged with reddish-purple
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