Carex prairea - Dewey ex Wood
Prairie Sedge
Other Common Names: prairie sedge
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Carex prairea Dewey ex Wood (TSN 39768)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.158457
Element Code: PMCYP03AZ0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Sedge Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Cyperaceae Carex
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Carex prairea
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 27Jul2016
Global Status Last Changed: 31Jan2010
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (08Feb2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Connecticut (S2), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (S1S2), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S3), Maine (S1), Massachusetts (S1?), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S3), Nebraska (S3S4), New Jersey (S2), New York (S5), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (S2), South Dakota (SNR), Vermont (S4), Virginia (S1), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (SNR), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S3), British Columbia (S4), Manitoba (S4?), New Brunswick (S2), Northwest Territories (SNR), Nova Scotia (S1), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S2), Saskatchewan (S4), Yukon Territory (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, NT, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Fairfield (09001), Litchfield (09005)
MA Berkshire (25003), Hampden (25013), Middlesex (25017)
ME Aroostook (23003)
MT Flathead (30029), Lincoln (30053)
NE Blaine (31009), Brown (31017), Cherry (31031), Custer (31041), Garden (31069)*, Garfield (31071)*, Grant (31075), Logan (31113)*, Loup (31115)*, Sheridan (31161), Thomas (31171)*, Valley (31175)*
NJ Gloucester (34015)*, Hunterdon (34019)*, Morris (34027)*, Salem (34033)*, Somerset (34035)*, Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
PA Bedford (42009), Berks (42011)*, Blair (42013), Bucks (42017), Centre (42027), Crawford (42039), Erie (42049), Franklin (42055), Lancaster (42071)*, Lawrence (42073), Lehigh (42077)*, Mercer (42085), Northampton (42095), Pike (42103)*, Tioga (42117)*, Warren (42123)
VA Augusta (51015), Winchester (City) (51840)
WV Jefferson (54037)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Aroostook (01010004)+, Meduxnekeag (01010005)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Rondout (02020007)+, Raritan (02030105)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+*, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+*, Bald Eagle (02050204)+, Pine (02050205)+*, Upper Juniata (02050302)+, Raystown (02050303)+, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+*, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+, Shenandoah (02070007)+
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+, Middle Allegheny-Tionesta (05010003)+, French (05010004)+, Shenango (05030102)+, Connoquenessing (05030105)+
10 Upper Niobrara (10150003)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Snake (10150005)+, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+*, Upper Middle Loup (10210001)+, Dismal (10210002)+*, Lower Middle Loup (10210003)+, South Loup (10210004)+*, Upper North Loup (10210006)+, Lower North Loup (10210007)+*, Calamus (10210008)+*
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101)+, Stillwater (17010210)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
General Description: Prairie Sedge is a grass-like perennial with stems 50-100 cm tall that form clumps and arise from a short, black rootstock. Stems are sharply triangular in cross section. The lowest leaves are reduced to sheaths with short scales, and the upper leaves have well-developed flat leaf blades that are 2-3 mm wide and 10-30 cm long. The leaf sheaths are red dotted and strongly copper-tinged near the mouth. Bisexual spikes with the male flowers above are borne in somewhat open, often drooping heads that are 3-8 cm long. The scales that cover the perigynia are light reddish brown with translucent margins. The perigynia are 2.5-3.5 mm long and 1.2-1.5 mm wide, straw or brown colored, few nerved (most evident on the back), and taper to a long serrulate beak. Each perigynium has two reddish-brown stigmas that protrude from the opening at the top, and an achene that is lens-shaped.
Diagnostic Characteristics: CAREX PRAIREA is somewhat intermediate between C. DIANDRA and C. CUSICKII; distinguished from the former by having leaf sheaths that are copper colored inside at the mouth, more open flowering heads, and dull perigynia. C. CUSICKII also has copper colored sheaths and open heads but has wider leaves and brownish-black perigynia. A hand lens or microscope and technical key are needed for positive identification.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23Jun1998
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): MZB

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Bouchard, A., D. Barabé, M. Dumais et S. Hay 1983. Les plantes vasculaires rares du Québec. Syllogeus no 48. Musées nationaux du Canada. Ottawa. 75 p.

  • Hay, S. G. 1991. Lettre à G. Lavoie, en date du 31 janvier 1991.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

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