Shaved Sedge, Carex tonsa

Shaved Sedge

Carex tonsa

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Sand, Rocky
Soil Moisture: Dry
Color: N/A
Fragrance: No
Height: 6-12 inches
Spacing: 6 inches

Shaved Sedge, Carex tonsa, is a native sedge primarily found in rocky forests, outcrops, and open, sandy soils. Leaves are basal and alternate, all near the base, .5 to 4.5 mm wide, erect to spreading, about as long as or longer than the flowering stem, with some old leaves persisting to the next season. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is wider than long. Bases are wrapped in a reddish brown to purple sheath that becomes fibrous. Stems are erect to spreading, slender, 3-sided, rough along the angles. Stems may elongate up to 9 inches at maturity and usually remain shorter than the longest leaves. Plants form loose to dense clumps and may form mats from short, stout rhizomes.

Separate staminate (male) and pistillate (female) spikes, with a single staminate spike up to 12 mm (~½ inch) long at the tip of the stem. Just below the staminate spike is usually 1 pistillate spike (occasionally none, rarely 2), up to 7 mm (~¼ inch) long, stalkless or nearly so. There are also 1 or 2, short-stalked, all-pistillate spikes at the base of the stem.

At the base of lowest non-basal pistillate spike is a slender, bristle-like bract that does not overtop the terminal spike. Bracts of other pistillate spikes are shorter or obscure.

Fruit develops in mid to late spring, the pistillate spikes forming clusters of seeds (achenes), each wrapped in a casing (perigynium), subtended by a scale. Each pistillate spike contains 2 to 12 fruits, the perigynia erect to ascending, overlapping and crowded on the spike.

Habitat includes cliffs, balds, or ledges in forests, grassland, or woodlands

 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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