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Carex aquatilis

Carex aquatilis (Natural Resources Conservation Service)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Cyperaceae
Subfamilia: Cyperoideae
Tribus: Cariceae
Genus: Carex
Species: Carex aquatilis
Varietates: C. a. var. aquatilis – C. a. var. dives – C. a. var. minor – C. a. var. substricta

Carex aquatilis Wahlenb., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Nya Handl. 24: 165 (1803).

Vignea aquatilis (Wahlenb.) Rchb. in J.C.Mössler & H.G.L.Reichenbach, Handb. Gewächsk. ed. 2, 3: 1624 (1830).
Neskiza aquatilis (Wahlenb.) Raf., Good Book: 27 (1840).
Carex aquatilis var. genuina Syme in J.E.Smith, Engl. Bot., ed. 3, 10: 113 (1870), nom. inval.


Carex aquatilis Ten., nom. illeg. = Carex microcarpa Bertol. ex Moris

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Regional: Northern Europe
Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden.
Regional: Middle Europe
Germany, Netherlands.
Regional: Eastern Europe
Baltic States, Central European Russia, East European Russia, North European Russia, South European Russia, Northwest European Russia.
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: Siberia
Altay, Krasnoyarsk, West Siberia, Yakutiya.
Regional: Russian Far East
Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, Magadan.
Continental: Northern America
Regional: Subarctic America
Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Greenland, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon.
Regional: Western Canada
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan.
Regional: Eastern Canada
Labrador, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Isle, Québec.
Regional: Northwestern U.S.A.
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming.
Regional: North-Central U.S.A.
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin.
Regional: Northeastern U.S.A.
Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont.
Regional: Southwestern U.S.A.
Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah.
Regional: South-Central U.S.A.
New Mexico.
Regional: Southeastern U.S.A.
Continental: Antarctic
Regional: Subantarctic Islands
South Georgia South Sandwich Islands (introduced.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Wahlenberg, G. 1803. Kongl. Vetenskaps Academiens Nya Handlingar 24: 165.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Carex aquatilis in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Dec 13. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Carex aquatilis. Published online. Accessed: Dec 13 2019. 2019. Carex aquatilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 13 Dec 2019.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Carex aquatilis in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 13 Aug 2006.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Wasser-Segge
English: Water sedge, Leafy tussock sedge
eesti: Vesitarn
suomi: Vesisara

Carex aquatilis is a species of sedge known as water sedge and leafy tussock sedge. It has a circumboreal distribution, occurring throughout the northern reaches of the Northern Hemisphere. It grows in many types of mountainous and arctic habitat, including temperate coniferous forest, alpine meadows, tundra, and wetlands.

There are several varieties of this species, and it is somewhat variable in appearance. It produces triangular stems reaching heights between 20 cm (8 in) and 1.5 m (5 ft), and generally does not form clumps as some other sedges do. It grows from a dense rhizome network which produces a mat of fine roots thick enough to form sod, and includes aerenchyma to allow the plant to survive in low-oxygen substrates like heavy mud.[1] The inflorescence bears a number of spikes with one leaflike bract at the base which is longer than the inflorescence itself. The fruits are glossy achenes, and although the plant occasionally reproduces by seed, most of the time it reproduces vegetatively, spreading via its rhizome.[1] In fact, in any given year, most shoots produce no flowers.[1] This perennial plant lives up to 10 years or more, can form peat as its rhizome system decomposes, and is sometimes used to revegetate areas where peat has been harvested.[1]

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