Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Carex, [26bb] Section 19 Laxiflorae: section Laxiflorae

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1 Perigynia with 8-18 veins, 2-3 conspicuous, narrowly cuneate basally; perigynium beak short and usually abruptly bent; foliage dark green; bracts surpassing the staminate spike
1 Perigynium with (22-) 25-32 veins, all of which are conspicuous (the central one slightly more distinct); perigynium beak various; foliage various; bracts various.
..2 Perigynium with a short, bent beak, usually abruptly bent to one side.
....3 Spikes loosely flowered, most perigynia not overlapping.
......4 Bracts very broad, 8-20 mm wide; basal leaves very wide, up to 40 mm wide; plant glaucescent; basal sheaths purple or brown
......4 Bracts narrow, 2.5-6 mm wide; basal leaves narrow, 3-8 mm wide; plant green; basal sheaths purple, often weathering to brown
....3 Spikes densely flowered, the perigynia overlapping.
........5 Basal sheaths purple when fresh, weathering to brown; uppermost bract rarely overtopping the staminate spike; staminate spike usually long-stalked
........5 Basal sheaths brown; uppermost bract overtopping the staminate spike; staminate spike sessile or short-stalked
..........6 Widest bract of the uppermost lateral spike 0.5-3.4 mm wide
..........6 Widest bract of the uppermost lateral spike (2.9-) 3.2-8.3 mm wide
..2 Perigynium tapering to a straight or slightly curved beak (or a long, curved beak in C. radfordii) (note: some beaks may curve in pressing).
............7 Perigynium beaks long (to 1.5 mm long) and excurved; basal sheaths green, white, and brownish striped; [endemic to the escarpment gorge area near the SC-NC-GA tricorner]
............7 Perigynium beaks straight or slightly curved; basal sheaths either purple, wine-red, or brownish, not prominently green-and-white striped; [collectively widespread in our area].
..............8 Basal sheaths purple or wine-red (may weather to brown in C. gracilescens).
................9 Spikes densely flowered, the perigynia overlapping
................9 Spikes loosely flowered, the spikelets not overlapping.
..................10 Mature leaf blades of sterile shoots 4-5 (-6) mm wide, green; culms green, chalky red at base (best seen in fresh material); pistillate spikes (3-) 5-7 (-8) flowered; staminate spike on a peduncle 0-1 cm long
..................10 Mature leaf blades of sterile shoots (6-) 7-10 mm wide, glaucous; culms glaucous, bright red at base (best seen in fresh material); pistillate spikes (4-) 7-11 (-15) flowered; staminate spike on a peduncle 2-3 (-6) cm long
..............8 Basal sheaths brown, not purple or wine-red.
....................11 Mature perigynia obovoid.
......................12 Spikes overlapping, densely flowered; staminate spike more-or-less obscured; plant green
......................12 Spikes scattered, loosely flowered; staminate spike prominently exserted; plant usually glaucescent
....................11 Mature perigynia fusiform.
........................13 Spikes overlapping, the staminate more-or-less obscured and overtopped by the uppermost bract
........................13 Spikes scattered, the staminate prominent and exceeding the uppermost bract.
..........................14 Spikes densely flowered; perigynium beaks curved; lowest spike exserted on a long, arching, peduncle
..........................14 Spikes loosely flowered; perigynium beaks straight; lowest spike on a short, erect or ascending, peduncle
............................15 Widest leaf on vegetative shoots (including overwintered leaves) 2.0-6.0 (-6.9) mm wide; medial pistillate spikes more loosely flowered, the ratio of the number of perigynia to spike length (measured in mm) (0.20-) mean 0.41 (-0.52)
............................15 Widest leaf on vegetative shoots (including overwintered leaves) 5.7-11.3 mm; medial pistillate spikes more densely flowered, the ratio of the number of perigynia to spike length (measured in mm) (0.47-) mean 0.57 (-0.90)