Carex styloflexa - Buckl.
Bent Sedge
Other Common Names: bent sedge
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Carex styloflexa Buckl. (TSN 39823)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.145622
Element Code: PMCYP03D40
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
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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 styloflexa
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Jul1994
Global Status Last Changed: 05Apr1985
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Carex styloflexa is considered common and secure over a wide geographic range. Its habitat is threatened by hydrological disruption.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4N5

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNR), Arkansas (S1), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (S4), District of Columbia (SNR), Florida (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Kentucky (S3S4), Louisiana (SNR), Maryland (S4), Mississippi (S4), New Jersey (S3S4), New York (S1), North Carolina (S4), Ohio (SH), Pennsylvania (S4), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Texas (S1), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (S4?), West Virginia (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Carex styloflexa is almost strictly a Coastal Plain species where it is common on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains from New York (and perhaps Vermont) south to Florida and the eastern third of Texas. It is uncommon inland in the Piedmonts and Appalachian Mountains and occurs as far north as Illinois, historically in Ohio, and possibly Indiana. (In Indiana, past records were misidentified and there is no proof of its existing in the state [Hellmich 1994].) It is possible that the species may range south of the United States border, but Bryson (1994) knows of no such collections and notes that he has never seen it south of the orange-growing region in Florida. The range for C. styloflexa is very similar to the botanically comparable C. striatula; however, C. striatula is more common further inland on the continent (Bryson 1994). On the northeastern end of its range, historic collections were made in Connecticut, one of which was from Seldens Neck in Lyme (Graves 1899, Fernald 1902). The New York sites include historic collections from Long Island and New York City, plus one recent record from Rensslaer Co. Some upstate records are thought to be misidentifications (New York Natural Heritage Program 1994).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: The estimated number of occurrences exceeds 100; As of 1994, the status of Carex styloflexa is somewhat uncertain in many states likely as a result of uncertainty in identification.

This species was recently reviewed in Maryland where the S rank may be more properly S1S2 rather than S3 (Cooley 1992). In Texas, the species is infrequent and occurs only in the eastern third of the state (Jones 1994). The species does not exist in Missouri (Ladd 1994), and there are 22 counties in eastern Tennessee with records (Robison 1993). In Georgia, there are seven counties with records, and it is assumed to be fairly common and stable in the state (Allison 1994). The species is thought to be relatively common in Kentucky and North Carolina.

Population Size Comments: C. styloflexa is more common and abundant in the southern portion of its range. It declines in distribution and abundance on the northern edge of its range.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Although this species does well in areas where there is minor disturbance in the canopy, such as treefalls, it does poorly following clear-cutting which dries the soil. Although it can persist in deep shade to 70-90 percent sunlight, the soil conditions must remain moist for the populations to persist. Hydrologic changes from clear-cuts, lowering of the groundwater level, damming, and frequent and prolonged inundations of water can disrupt the populations (Bryson 1994). In New York, a change in hydrology due to the pumping of groundwater for Long Island is threatening a population. In Ohio, it is possible that the clearing of woodlands and consequent drying of habitat could be a threat to this species (Ohio Natural Heritage Program 1992). In West Virginia, the only known occurrence may be threatened by a drying habitat. This is also an area that could potentially be mined (West Virginia Natural Heritage Program 1992).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: There is no immediate threat, and there is ample habitat available for the species across its range (Bryson 1994). There is some concern by Jones (1994) that the populations in Texas may be decreasing.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Carex styloflexa is more fragile than the botanically similar C. striatula, however it will persist in a clear-cut and under wide open canopy (from deep shade to 70-90% sunlight) provided that the soil does not dry and hydrology is intact. It will not tolerate standing water that stays for 1-2 months or frequent inundation of water; however, it will tolerate flash floods (Bryson 1994).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Carex styloflexa is almost strictly a Coastal Plain species where it is common on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains from New York (and perhaps Vermont) south to Florida and the eastern third of Texas. It is uncommon inland in the Piedmonts and Appalachian Mountains and occurs as far north as Illinois, historically in Ohio, and possibly Indiana. (In Indiana, past records were misidentified and there is no proof of its existing in the state [Hellmich 1994].) It is possible that the species may range south of the United States border, but Bryson (1994) knows of no such collections and notes that he has never seen it south of the orange-growing region in Florida. The range for C. styloflexa is very similar to the botanically comparable C. striatula; however, C. striatula is more common further inland on the continent (Bryson 1994). On the northeastern end of its range, historic collections were made in Connecticut, one of which was from Seldens Neck in Lyme (Graves 1899, Fernald 1902). The New York sites include historic collections from Long Island and New York City, plus one recent record from Rensslaer Co. Some upstate records are thought to be misidentifications (New York Natural Heritage Program 1994).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NY Bronx (36005)*, Madison (36053)*, Nassau (36059)*, New York (36061)*, Queens (36081)*, Rensselaer (36083), Richmond (36085)*, Suffolk (36103), Tioga (36107)*, Westchester (36119)*
PA Bucks (42017), Cumberland (42041)*
TX Angelina (48005), Jasper (48241)
WV Berkeley (54003), Pocahontas (54075), Raleigh (54081), Randolph (54083)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Lower Hudson (02030101)+*, Bronx (02030102)+*, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+*, Northern Long Island (02030201)+*, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Long Island Sound (02030203)+*, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Owego-Wappasening (02050103)+*, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+*, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+
04 Oneida (04140202)+*
05 Tygart Valley (05020001)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Lower New (05050004)+
12 Lower Neches (12020003)+, Lower Angelina (12020005)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Perennial woodland sedge; grows in tufts from short rhizomes; stems sharply triangular; leaves to 7mm wide; terminal spike staminate, its peduncle exceeding the uppermost, sessile pistillate spike; pistillate spikes 2-5, widely separated and with 4-20 perigynia, lower spikes on long, drooping peduncles; pistillate scales acute to acuminate; perigynia closely overlapping, long-tapering to both ends, ill-defined beak somewhat outcurved and with an oblique, entire opening.
General Description: A grass like plant, this sedge is a densely tufted perennial. It has leaves that arise from the base of the plant and along reproductive stems (culms). The leaves are narrow, green to yellow-green and flat. It has 3-4 clusters of flowers/fruits (spikes) the lowest on stalks arising from the lower 1/3 of the culm. The flowering stems bear one slender male spike above the two to five, wider, few-flowered female spikes (Bryson and Naczi 2002).
Technical Description: Plants 3-8 dm, forming large tufts; fertile stems lax or ascending, sharply triangular but not winged, minutely roughened above; basal sheaths more or less brown; largest leaves to 7 mm wide, seldom more; terminal spike staminate, 1-3.5 cm, its peduncle usually and its summit always surpassing the short (ca. 5 mm), sessile, uppermost pistillate spike; pistillate spikes 2-5, 0.5-2 cm, widely sepatated but none basal, the lowest on a long, drooping peduncle, the upper on short, scarcely exserted peduncles; pistillate scales acute to acuminate; perigynia 4-20, closely overlapping, greenish-stramineous, 3.5-5.5 mm, finely many-nerved as well as 2-ribbed, obtusely trigonous, fusiform, long-tapering to both ends, the elongate but ill-defined beak somewhat outcurved, with an oblique, entire orifice; achene trigonous; 2n = 48. (Gleason & Cronquist 1991)
Diagnostic Characteristics: Carex styloflexa is similar to several other species in the Laxiflorae section. One can distinguish this species, however, by the following combination of characters: (1) obtusely-angled perigynia with a straight beak, (2) lowest pistillate spike on a capillary peduncle, and (3) the perigynia closely overlapping. Carex styloflexa grows in wetter habitats than most similar species (Ohio Natural Heritage Program 1992).

Carex styloflexa is very similar to Carex striatula. They differ in the following ways: C. striatula has scattered perigyms and whitish scales on the staminate spike. Carex styloflexa has especially long peduncles on the lower pistillate spike, aggregated perigyms, and beaks that point outward (Bryson 1994). The two species may occur in close proximity, but C. striatula occurs distinctly above and in drier soil.

The two species above are often confused with Carex laxiflora. C. laxiflora, however, has staminate spikes which are brownish with a greenish midrib and the entire plant tends to be a bit more yellowish-green than C. striatula (Bryson 1994).

Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Staminate and pistillate flowers in separate spikes, the staminate above the pistillate on one stem. Cyperaceae are wind-pollinated with the exception of Dichromena. The inflated perigynium allows Carex seeds to float for long periods of time (2 days to over 12 months, depending on the species), and various species are also dispersed by ants, birds, and mammals (Ridley 1930).
Ecology Comments: Phenology: Carex styloflexa flowers and fruits early. In New York, Carex styloflexa flowers at the end of May and the beginning of June and fruits at the end of June (New York Natural Heritage Program 1994). In Ohio, this species fruits in May (Ohio Natural Heritage Program 1992). Seed dispersal can be through water or wildlife. Dispersal of Carex by ants has been studied, but there is no conclusive evidence that this particular species is significantly ant dispersed (Bryson 1994). The seeds are not generally incorporated very deeply in the soil. They can germinate from the surface of the soil and have even been observed to germinate on a fallen stem (Bryson 1994). Chromosome number: n = 24 (Manhart 1986).
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: Carex styloflexa prefers sandy or silty, acidic soil at seeps, spring heads, wet woods, bogs, and rocky streams that are usually narrow enough to step across, often in deep shade (Bryson 1994, Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Ohio Natural Heritage Program 1992). Individuals are scattered in forests, common and localized around these wet areas. When occurring along larger rivers and lakes, populations tend to be more sparse and localized and not as extensive (Bryson 1994). Carex styloflexa occurs mostly on the coastal plain (Gleason 1952) and is not commonly found in calcareous and chalky areas or in the high pH soils of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The plants are almost weedy and yet not invasive. Associates include Carex debilis, C. crinita, C. lurida, C. laevivaginata, C. intumescens, C. leptalea, and the southern Atlantic form of C. atlantica ssp. cappillacea (Bryson 1994).

The following habitat information is listed alphabetically by state. It is accurate, although not necessarily comprehensive:

In Connecticut, a 1909 collection was made in a wet meadow where the species was rare (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]).

In Florida, a 1898 collection was made from a moist place in open woods (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]).

Georgia populations are found in calcareous woodlands. Most of the known sites are in areas protected as jurisdictional wetlands (Allison 1994).

In Illinois, Carex styloflexa is recorded from only one location at the base of a mesic upland forest slope, above a terrace (Illinois Natural Heritage Division 1994).

A Mississippi collection made in 1985 was in sandy, clay loam soil around a spring with oak-hickory-gum-pine overstory (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]). It has also been noted in pitcher plant bogs in southern Mississippi (Eleuterius and Jones 1969).

In New York, historic records of Carex styloflexa have been noted to occur in the following habitats: thin limestone ledges in woods near Clockville; damp spot in rich shade; moist wet thicket; edge of wet, rich woods; swampy woods; on the border of a brook; in a sphagnum bog; in rich wet hilly woods and in a damp thicket. Other historic collections were made in swampy woods and boggy thickets and in open grassy places of woods and ravines (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]). One of two recent sites is an open area along a stream in a wet pine barrens with Carex stricta, Gallium sp., Mikania scandens, and Clethra alnifolia. The state exemplary site is on wooded conglomerate edges on a steep slope (New York Natural Heritage Program 1994).

Habitat in North Carolina includes bogs and low elevation woods throughout the state (Radford et al. 1968).

A single collection is known from Ohio, taken in the 1930s from Jackson County in a typical Appalachian mesic forest. The site is on public land, was logged in 1940 and the population has never been relocated (Cusick 1994).

In Pennsylvania, several 1993 collections were documented from a marshy field, in wooded meadows in the shade, and in mountain woods (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]).

It occurs in the lower Piedmont and Coastal Plain of South Carolina (Radford et al. 1968). In South Carolina, historic collections have been made on a wet ledge under Isaquena Falls, alt. 1200 ft.; near wet rocks by the lower falls of the Whitewater river; and in moist woods along a brook 5 miles south of Myrtle Beach (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]). Another collection is noted from a "swamp in rich bottom 4 miles south of Myrtle Beach" (Weatherby and Griscom 1934).

In Tennessee, a 1989 collection was made along Abrams Creek in a low wet area (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]).

In Texas, Carex styloflexa seems to be restricted to spring-fed streamsides in ravines with forested seeps. Associated species include: overstory--Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia), Persea palustris (swamp redbay), and Acer rubrum (red maple); shrubs--Vaccinium fuscatum (Arkansas blueberry), Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire), Viburnum nudum (possumhaw viburnum), and Toxicodendron vernix (poison sumac); herb layer--Carex folliculata var. australis (long sedge), Carex leptalea (threadstem sedge), Eleocharis tuberculosa (long tubercle spikerush), Rudbeckia scabrifolia (bog coneflower), and Woodwardia areolata (netted-chain fern) (Orzell 1990).

In Virginia, it has been noted that Carex styloflexa occurs in two distinctly different areas on the Coastal Plain: the first is west of the Dismal Swamp in a region of Tertiary deposits with beds of Miocene fossil shells underlying the superficial sands, clays, and peats; and secondly, east of Dismal Swamp and south of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay where the Tertiary beds are buried deeply under Quaternary sands and clays (Fernald 1936).

Only one extant occurrence is known from West Virginia. The habitat for this occurrence is sandy soil of a boggy, wet meadow in deep forest shade near the head of Kates Branch (West Virginia Natural Heritage Program 1992). A 1936 collection was made in a shaded pasture near a brook in Gabell County (University of Minnesota Herbarium [MIN]).

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this species occurs in wet to mesic woods in low elevations (Rock 1994).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Jun1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hengelfelt, J.(1994); S.L. Neid (1998).
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 16Mar1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HENGELFELT, JENNIFER S. L.; SCHUEN, DAVID WALTER; PENSKAR, MICHAEL R. (1994);

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).

References
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  • Braun, E.L. 1967. The Vascular Flora of Ohio. Volume 1. The Monocotyledoneae: Cat-tails to Orchids. The Ohio State University Press, Cincinnati, Ohio. 464 pp.

  • Bryson, C.T. 1980. A revision of the North American Carex section Laxiflorae (Cyperaceae). Doctoral dissertation, Mississippi State University.

  • Bryson, C.T. and R.F.C. Naczi. 2002. Carex Linnaeus sect. Laxiflorae (Kunth) Mackenzie. Pages 431-440 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (editors), Flora of North America, north of Mexico, Volume 23, Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Cyperaceae. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA. 608pp + xxiv.

  • Bryson, Charles T. 2002. Preliminary abundance and range estimates for Cyperaceae species of Mississippi. Handwritten notes provided to Mississippi Natural Heritage Program, Jackson, MS. 100 pp.

  • Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to vascular plants of the Florida panhandle. Florida State Univ. Press, Tallahassee, Florida. 605 pp.

  • Clute, W.N. 1898. The Flora of The Upper Susquehanna and Its Tributaries. Willard N. Clute and Co., Binghamton, New York. 142 pp + xix.

  • Correll, D.S., and M.C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation, Renner. 1881 pp.

  • Delaware Natural Heritage Program (DE NHP). 1993. Rare native plants of Delaware. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Parks and Recreation, Smyrna, DE.

  • Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A. & Cronquist, A. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Edition. The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY 10458. U.S.A. B91GLE01PAUS.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Harvill, A.M. 1973. Phytogeography of the carices of Virginia. Rhodora 75: 248-257.

  • Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

  • Hough, M. Y. 1983. New Jersey Wild Plants. Harmony Press, Harmony, New Jersey. 414 pp.

  • Hough, M.Y. 1983. New Jersey wild plants. Harmony Press, Harmony, NJ. 414 pp.

  • 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.

  • Manhart, J.R. 1986. Foliar flavonoids of the North American members of Carex Section Laxiflorae (Cyperaceae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 14: 85-90.

  • Natural Heritage Program Files. 1996. Unpublished.

  • New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

  • Orzell, S.L. 1990. Texas Natural Heritage Program inventory of National Forests and National Grasslands in Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; U.S. Forest Service, Lufkin, TX. 526pp.

  • Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles, and C. R. Bell. 1964. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

  • Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles, and C. R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 1183 pp.

  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.

  • Reschke, Carol. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 96 pp. plus xi.

  • Rhoads, A.F., and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The vascular flora of Pennsylvania: Annotated checklist and atlas. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA. 636 pp.

  • Rhoads, Ann F. and Timothy A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Ridley, H.N. 1930. The dispersal of plants throughout the world. L. Reeve & Co., Ltd., Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom. 744 pp.

  • Robison, R.D. 1993. Miscellaneous Publication Number 9. The Center for Field Biology Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN 37044

  • Strausbaugh, P. D. and E. L. Core. 1977. Flora of West Virginia, 2nd. ed. Seneca Books, Grantsville, WV 1079 p.

  • Sundell, E. 1986. Noteworthy vascular plants from Arkansas. Castanea 51: 211-215.

  • Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://wwws.nyflora.org/, Albany, New York

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