We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges

An Introduction to the Genus Carex (Cyperaceae)

Andrew L. Hipp; Illustrations by Rachel D. Davis; Maps and Appendices by Merel R. Black and Theodore S. Cochrane

Publication Year: 2008

Sedges are among the world’s most diverse and ecologically important plant families, with almost two hundred species in Wisconsin alone. These grass-like plants, found mostly in wetlands, are increasingly popular with landscapers and home gardeners. Learning to identify sedges is challenging, however, and the available technical guides to the sedge family can be overwhelming to a nonspecialist. Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the largest sedge genus, Carex, which alone makes up about 7 percent of the flora of the upper Midwest.
            Written primarily for naturalists, wild plant enthusiasts, and native landscapers, this book is unique in its accessible format and illustrations. With this book, readers can learn to recognize key structures needed to identify approximately 150 Carex species found in Wisconsin. Author Andrew Hipp shows how to identify many of the major groupings of sedges that are used in guides to the genus throughout the world.
           Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges includes information on habitat and range drawn from Hipp’s extensive field experience and inspection of thousands of herbarium sheets. Primarily an identification guide, the book is also a valuable source of habitat information for landscapers, gardeners, and restorationists.

• Keys to all Wisconsin Carex species, arranged by section
• Distribution maps for all species
• Species descriptions and detailed habitat information for more than 50 common species
• Color illustrations of whole plants or details for more than 70 species
• Appendix summarizing dominant Carex species by Wisconsin habitat
• A glossary of terms
• Water-resistant paperback cover

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (58.1 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (20.3 KB)
pp. vii

read more

Preface and Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (39.8 KB)
pp. ix-x

This book is a guide to the identification of Wisconsin’s Carex species, written for naturalists at varying levels of taxonomic expertise. Part 1 provides dichotomous keys to and brief descriptions of the 157 Carex species that inhabit the state. Where practical, keys and descriptions emphasize those characters that are easiest to evaluate in the Weld, deemphasizing measurements ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (30.5 KB)
pp. xi

Introduction to Sedges and Use of This Book

pdf iconDownload PDF (14.5 KB)
pp. 1

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (53.7 KB)
pp. 2-5

Sedges grow in alpine tundra and bottomland forests, dry prairies, sedge meadows, peat lands of all kinds, upland forests, ditches and roadsides, and many other habitats. Sedges form an important component of forest understories, provide food for waterfowl and habitat for invertebrates, and carry fire through wetlands, prairies, and oak woodlands. Sedges directly increase the biodiversity of some communities: ...

read more

What Is a Sedge?

pdf iconDownload PDF (194.0 KB)
pp. 6-16

In common parlance, sedges and rushes often become just “some kind of grass.” Yet sedges, grasses, and rushes, which make up almost all of the grasslike plants in temperate ecosystems, comprise three separate families: the Cyperaceae (the sedge family, approximately 5,000 species worldwide), Poaceae (the grass family, also known by the name Gramineae, approximately ...

read more

Sedge Taxonomy

pdf iconDownload PDF (51.8 KB)
pp. 17-21

The Weld of taxonomy encompasses several interrelated areas of study: nomenclature, the system of scientific (Latin) names applied according to a set of standard, internationally recognized rules; classification, the system by which species are gathered into an increasingly complex hierarchy of groupings, including genera, families, orders, etc.; species circumscription, ...

read more

Studying Sedges in the Field

pdf iconDownload PDF (45.9 KB)
pp. 22-24

Having access to a dissecting microscope is helpful in learning and identifying sedges and will be essential for identifying some species. However, most North American sedges can be learned in the Weld with a hand lens and a little patience. The following recommendations should make for more enjoyable study. ...

PART 1: Keys and Abbreviated Descriptions of Wisconsin Carex Sections and Species

pdf iconDownload PDF (23.1 KB)
pp. 25-26

read more

Key to Subgenera of Carex

pdf iconDownload PDF (41.0 KB)
pp. 27-28

Learning to distinguish the major Carex subgenera—subgenus Carex and subgenus Vignea—makes learning sedges much easier. The subgenera are easy to recognize in the Weld once you are familiar with them, but numerous characters are needed to distinguish the two in a dichotomous key. You will save yourself time and frustration if you study this key to subgenera for five ...

read more

Key to Carex Subgenus Carex

pdf iconDownload PDF (89.9 KB)
pp. 29-43

Plants in this group have a solitary bisexual spike at the tip of each culm. Plants in section Phyllostachyae often have additional lateral spikes very low on some culms, but these are usually inconspicuous. Inflorescences of our unispicate species typically have few perigynia, and the staminate portions of the spike are relatively inconspicuous. All are androgynous except Carex ...

read more

Key to Carex Subgenus Vignea

pdf iconDownload PDF (89.1 KB)
pp. 44-54

The distinction between an androgynous spike and a gynecandrous spike can be difficult to see at first. The lower scales on a gynecandrous spike hold staminate flowers, which are obvious at flowering time by their dangling stamens. After the stamens fall off, the bare filaments are visible for at least a short time. When the perigynia ripen, the gynecandrous condition is often evident ...

read more

Carex Subgenus Carex

pdf iconDownload PDF (143.2 KB)
pp. 55-76

In practice, the subgenus is easily recognized in the Weld because there is obvious division of sexes between the spikes of a given plant, each spike usually unisexual or dominated by either pistillate or staminate flowers. The subgenus is referred to as subgenus “Eucarex” in Fernald and several other treatments, but that name is invalid under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, ...

read more

Carex Subgenus Vignea

pdf iconDownload PDF (121.3 KB)
pp. 77-94

It is morphologically distinctive, most easily recognized in the Weld by the bisexual, sessile (unstalked) spikes, which are typically all similar to one another on a given plant. This differs from the condition of most members of subgenus Carex, in which the lower spikes are predominantly or wholly pistillate, the upper spikes are largely or altogether staminate, and at least some spikes on each plant are ...

PART 2: Field Guide to Wisconsin Carices

pdf iconDownload PDF (22.7 KB)
pp. 95-96

read more

Common Wisconsin Species of Carex Subgenus Carex

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 97-168

Grass sedge and its relatives share a highly distinctive inflorescence. The terminal spike (illustrated here) is androgynous with a long, foliose lowermost pistillate scale that resembles the bracts subtending the entire inflorescence in other sections. Flowers May, fruits May to June, most perigynia falling by mid- to late July. ...

read more

Common Wisconsin Species of Carex Subgenus Vignea

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 169-210

Sphagnum bogs, white cedar swamps, and calcareous swales adjacent to Lake Michigan; primarily in the northeastern quarter of the state and Door County, with disjunct populations in Taylor and Ozaukee counties. Associates include black spruce, larch, white cedar, Carex tenuiflora, C. crawei, white beak-rush (Rhynchospora alba), small round-leaved orchis ...

Appendix A: Principal Carex Habitats of Wisconsin and Their Typical Species

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.9 KB)
pp. 211-220

Appendix B: Atlas of the Wisconsin Carex Flora

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 221-250


pdf iconDownload PDF (60.0 KB)
pp. 251-256


pdf iconDownload PDF (46.4 KB)
pp. 257-260

Taxonomic Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (229.0 KB)
pp. 261-265

E-ISBN-13: 9780299225933
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299225940

Publication Year: 2008