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Key to Carex, [26oo] Section 28 Paludosae: section Paludosae

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  2 Culms central, with the withered remains of the previous year’s leaves at the base; basal sheaths of fertile culms not at all or only slightly reddened; [of the Coastal Plain]
  2 Culms lateral, with bladeless sheaths at the base; basal sheaths strongly reddened; [collectively widespread in our area].
    3 Beak of the perigynium soft, translucent, the teeth obscure; peduncle of staminate spike 0.2-2 cm long; [of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain in our area]
    3 Beak of the perigynium stiff, opaque, the teeth well-developed; peduncle of staminate spike (0.8-) 2-9 cm long; [of the Mountains in our area].
      4 Leaves folded along the midrib, appearing 0.7-2.0 (-2.2) mm wide; culms obtusely trigonous, usually smooth; base of pistillate bracts often auriculate, forming a V-shaped mouth; middle staminate scales narrowly acute
      4 Leaves more-or-less flat or M-shaped, (1.8-) 2.2-4.5 (-6) mm wide; culms acutely trigonous, often scabrous on the angles; base of pistillate bract with a short, truncated process at mouth; middle staminate scales obtuse and short-awned, or acute
        5 Widest leaves 1.5-5 (-6) mm wide; culms 8-90 cm tall; inflorescences 2.5-35 (45) cm long.
          6 Inflorescence rachis with rounded, smooth angles; lowermost pistillate spikes usually strongly overlapping; [introduced, in coastal sands]
          6 Inflorescence rachis with sharp, scabrous angles; lowermost pistillate spikes overlapping not at all or slightly; [native, in acidic Coastal Plain wetlands]
        5 Widest leaves (4-) 5.5-15 (-21) mm wide; culms 40-135 cm tall; inflorescences 15-60 cm long.
             7 Perigynia 4.8-7.8 mm long; [native species].
               8 Longest ligules 2-10 (-12) mm long, < 2 × as long as wide; culms central, with the withered remains of the previous year’s leaves at the base; perigynia obscurely 10-15-veined; [of the Coastal Plain]
               8 Longest ligules 13-40 (-56) mm long, much longer than wide; culms lateral, with bladeless sheaths at the base; perigynia usually strongly 14-28-veined; [of the Mountains in our area]
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