Eastern Star Sedgeor

Eastern Star Sedgeor

Eastern Star Sedge

Everyday, I hunt for a bed. One in a fecund clutch of cattails, with its feather lawn hanging to earth by day. Or I lie in a tangle of grass and sticky roots, maybe a strand of silver birchlac trees. Moldy earth and fungus-smelling moss, those are the beds I’ve tried so far. I'll try anything, I say, as I pull myself up to retch onto whatever earth I can find.

Carex radiata, or Eastern Star Sedge, forms attractive dense tufts of slender leaf blades in dappled to medium shade. Small star-like flower clusters appear in late spring. Slow to spread, primarily by seed, the seeds are a food source for both songbirds and upland gamebirds. Eastern Star Sedge is an excellent low-growing ornamental sedge for moist to medium soils.


Each perigynium is green in color, vein-less, the base of the body spongy and thickened, the spongy part not more than 20 to 30 % of the perigynium length, the back side with longitudinal striations, the margins near the top finely serrate, ending with a beak 0.4 to 1.0 mm long with a pair of pointed teeth. The body of the perigynium is roughly 2.6 to 3.8 mm long and 1 to 1.5 mm wide (1.5 to 3x as long as wide). The scales of the pistillate perigynia have a translucent appearance with a green mid-vein; these are ovate and mostly 1/2 the length of the perigynia and narrower with a pointed tip or short-awned. Scales turn to a light brown at maturity. There are two stigmas per pistillate floret which are straight or slightly twisted to only slightly coiled (which gives one of the common names - Straight-styled Wood Sedge); and three stamens per staminate floret.

Names: The genus name, Carex, is from the Latin, being the old name for Sedges. The species, radiata, means 'with radiating form' and refers to the position of the perigynia and the achenes pointing outward from the point of attachment. The author names for the plant classification are as follows: ‘Wahlenb.’ refers to Georg Wahlenberg (1780-1851) Swedish naturalist, professor of botany and medicine at Uppsala University. His work focused on plant taxonomy and geography, one of the first to do so. A major work was Flora lapponica. His work was amended by ‘Small’ which refers to John Kunkel Small (1869-1938), American Botanist, first curator of the New York Botanical Garden, best known for Flora of the Southeastern United States. The common names are explained above other than that 'eastern' is used to differentiate this species from the other starry sedge, C. rosea, which has a wider distribution westward and southward in North America. (Source: www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)



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