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Carex brevior NPS-1

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 brevior

Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. ex Lunell, Amer. Midl. Naturalist 4: 235 (1915).

Carex straminea var. brevior Dewey, Amer. J. Sci. Arts 11: 158 (1826).
Carex festucacea var. brevior (Dewey) Fernald, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 37: 477 (1902).

Native distribution areas:
Primary references

Mackenzie, K.K. 1915. American Midland Naturalist, devoted to natural history, primarily that of the prairie states. 4: 235.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Carex brevior in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Dec 15. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Carex brevior. Published online. Accessed: Dec 15 2019. 2019. Carex brevior. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 15 Dec 2019.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Carex brevior in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Vernacular names
English: shortbeak sedge
svenska: Kaninstarr

Carex brevior, known as shortbeak sedge[3] and plains oval sedge,[4][5] is a species of sedge native to North America.[6] The specific epithet brevior means "shorter" in Latin.[5]


Carex brevior forms dense tufts with short-prolonged rhizomes, the clumps sometimes appearing elongated.[6] The flowering culms are 15–120 cm (5.9–47.2 in) tall with 3 to 5 leaves per culm. Few vegetative culms are produced and unlike some other sedges, they are not strikingly 3-ranked. The leaf sheaths are white and papery and the ligule is 2.2–3.3 mm (0.087–0.13 in) long. The inflorescence is open, brown, up to 6.5 cm (2.6 in) long with between 3 and 7 distant, distinct spikes per culm. Each spike is ovoid or ellipsoide, typically attenuate at the base and acute or rounded at the tip, with 15–40 lenticular perigynia. The perigynia are green to reddish brown, orbiculate to broadly ovate, and typically 3.4–4.8 mm (0.13–0.19 in) long and 2.3–3.2 mm (0.091–0.126 in) across (1.2–1.8 times as long as wide).[6]

Carex brevior flowers in mid-May and early June,[5] fruiting in the early to mid summer.[6]

A member of Carex sect. Ovales, it is commonly confused with other closely related species such as Carex molesta, C. molestiformis, and C. cumulata. These species share general fruiting characteristics, with "broad perigynia that tend to be widest near the middle of the body and achenes that are broadly elliptic to round".[7][5] C. cumulata has perigynia that are more rhombic due to its narrowed wings beyond the middle of the perigynia and the nearly cuneate base.[5]

A heteroecious rust fungus, Puccinia dioicae, infects the foliage of Carex brevior, forming brownish spots and blemishes.[5]
Distribution and habitat

Carex brevior has a broad distribution in North America, encompassing most of the continental United States and southern Canada, south to Tamaulipas, Mexico.[6] Its habitats include dry-mesic to dry prairies, meadows, along railroads, and open woodlands, usually in sandy soils and commonly in areas of disturbance.[6][8][5] Specimens found in disturbed habitats in parts of the Southeastern United States may be introduced populations.[6]

The Iroquois used the plant as a gynecological aid, where a "compound infusion of [the] plant [was] taken for evacuation of the placenta."[9]


"Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack". International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
"Carex brevior". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Carex brevior". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
"Carex brevior". Chicago Botanic Garden. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
Wilhelm, Gerould; Rericha, Laura (2017). Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis. Indiana Academy of Sciences.
Mastrogiuseppe, Joy, Paul E. Rothrock, A. C. Dibble, & A. A. Reznicek (2002). "Carex brevior". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 23. New York and Oxford. Retrieved 2018-09-28 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Hipp, Andrew; Rothrock, Paul; Reznicek, Anton; Berry, Paul (2007). "Chromosome Number Changes Associated with Speciation in Sedges: a Phylogenetic Study in Carex section Ovales (Cyperaceae) Using AFLP Data". Aliso. 23 (1): 193–203. doi:10.5642/aliso.20072301.14.
Reznicek, A. A.; Voss, E. G.; Walters, B. S., eds. (February 2011). "Carex brevior". Michigan Flora Online. University of Michigan Herbarium. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
"BRIT - Native American Ethnobotany Database". Retrieved 2019-12-17.

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