Cyperus lupulinus subsp. macilentus — Overview

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Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial sedge is ½–1¼' tall, producing an unbranched flowering culm with alternate leaves. The central culm is light to medium green, slender, 3-angled, and glabrous. The alternate leaves are located along the lower one-fourth of the stem. The leaf blades are up to 8" long and 1/8" (3 mm.) across; they are light green, longitudinally grooved, glabrous, and ascending to widely spreading. The central culm terminates in 1-3 globoid floral spikes (usually only one spike); each spike spans about ½" across. The first spike is always sessile; it has 1-5 ascending to widely spreading leafy bracts underneath it. Additional spikes, if present, are found on top of ascending to spreading stalks (rays); these stalks are ½–2" long, light green, and glabrous. The leafy bracts are up to 6" long and 1/8" (3 mm.) across; they vary considerably in length and resemble the leaf blades. Individual spikes consist of a sessile cluster of many spikelets. The secondary stalk (rachilla) of each spikelet has 3-7 floral scales on opposite sides; these scales are overlapping, but their outer margins are not tightly appressed. Each scale is 2.0–2.5 mm. long and longitudinally folded around its floret. Each floret has a pistil with a tripartite style and 3 stamens. The blooming period occurs during the summer and fall. The florets are wind-pollinated. The achenes are about 1.5 mm. long and about one-half as much across; they are oblongoid, somewhat flattened, hairless, and dark-colored. To some extent, they are blown about by the wind. The root system consists of hard corm-like rhizomes and fibrous roots. Vegetative offsets can be produced from the rhizomes.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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