Genus of the Week
Week of Mar. 9 - 15
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Carex: The True Sedges
Family: Cyperaceae: Reeds and Sedges
Number of Species: probably in the thousands
Root: Latin ca and rex = "sedge"
The genus Carex is large, and contains species that are of economic and ecological importance, though several species are also considered a nuisance or invasive. C. atherodes is used as a source of hay, while several other species in this genus have agricultural uses. Others are grown as ornamental plants or used in weaving. Populations often take up a large proportion of the biomass in a wetland habitat and thus are at least partly responsible for that ecosystem's primary production.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Carex species:
- The University of Wisconsin has 16 different jpegs of various Carex species, including C. pensylvanica and C. convoluta.
- The Vascular Plant Image Gallery at Texas A&M University has a list that is equally as impressive.
- The botanists at Texas A&M University are having difficulty classifying the exact identity of a species of Carex growing in Texas. Maybe you can help!
- The University of Hawaii has an image of Carex wahuensis, a sedge endemic to the Hawaiian islands.
- Ethnobotanists will be interested to know that species from the genus Carex have medicinal uses in many cultures.
- Oregon State University is home to the Carex Working Group, a group of people dedicated to learning about sedges native to Oregon. This site also contains several images of Carex species.
- Purchase and sow your own Carex seeds by purchasing them at the Ion Exchange Native Seed and Plant Nursery.
- Sara Hill has been studying C. aurea and has provided some drawings of the inflorescence as well as some photos.
- For those of you interested in plant species of California, here is a link to a long list of Carex species and their locations according to the California Flora Database, from the Pacific Southwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. Just enter "carex" in the search field and click on "Search CalFlora".
- The Agricultural Research Service has a searchable database of current abstracts called Tektran. Here is a link from Tektran to the Southern Weed Science Lab, about C. Hyaline, a rare species in the Southern U.S. Here is a similar ARS abstract concerning Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
- The Center for Plant Conservation has information about a potential candidate for a Federally Endangered Species, the Roan Mountain Sedge (C. roanensis).
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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