Saturday, December 8, 2012

Green in Winter: Plantain-leaved Sedge

The large, straplike leaves of Carex plantaginea are especially noticeable in winter. This plant is frequent in mesic forest remnants in northern Indiana, most commonly under beech and sugar maple. Photographed at Bendix Woods County Park near New Carlisle, Indiana on February 4, 2012.

Plantain-leaved Sedge is one of the earliest sedges to flower in spring, and also one of the showiest. Sedges are wind-pollinated and don't need to attract insects, and as a result, the flowers are apetalous (without petals). Even so, the flowers of this plant are very attractive. In the picture below, the pale yellow feather dusters are the staminate ("male") flowers; the transparent structures along the culms (stems) are the stigmas of the pistillate ("female") flowers. The photo below was created on April 9, 2011 in a privately-owned forest near Rolling Prairie, Indiana.
This is just a beautiful plant in every season!

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