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FutureStarrCarex Sprengelii or
Carex sprengelii is native to most of the northern half of the United States. This sedge can typically be found in the wild in rocky soil, but it can thrive in average soils and tolerate some drought, but soils on the moist side are preferred. Plant in the shade or partial shade to ensure it thrives. This is a great sedge for landscaping with a very ornamental seed head and clump-forming nature. Carex is a large genus, with over 600 species in North America and 150+ in Minnesota alone. They are grouped into sections, the species in each group having common traits. Carex sprengelii is in the Hymenochlaenae section; some of its common traits are: typically clump forming and forming loose colonies, leaves M-shaped in cross-section when young, spikes long and cylindric and drooping on slender stalks, terminal spike either all staminate or with a few perigynia (usually at the tip, occasionally the base), perigynia round in cross-section, 2-veined, beaked, the beak usually toothed, 3-sided achenes, often growing in woodlands.
Long-Beaked Sedge is a clump forming sedge. It is quite attractive and is a good choice as an ornamental, although it does die back to basal leaves during the hot summer months. Fertile culms terminate in inflorescence up to a foot long that droop as the seeds start to develop. Blooming occurs mid to late spring and lasts one to two weeks. Seeds are a great food source for gamebirds and migrating songbirds. This perennial sedge consists of both sterile and fertile shoots; the former tend to be more common than the latter. Sterile shoots consist of low tufts of sprawling leaves that are semi-evergreen.Fertile shoots are 1–2ï¿½' tall, consisting of loose tufts of ascending leafy stems. The bases of both fertile and infertile shoots are brownish with remnants of older leaves.
Individual stems are light green, glabrous, relatively narrow, 3-angled, and unbranched; the angles of their sides are smooth-textured below, but become more rough-textured (scabrous) above. Several alternate leaves occur along these stems; they are ascending to widely spreading and they often arch. The leaf blades are 2.5–4 mm. across and 8-16" long; they are light green, glabrous, linear in shape, and entire (toothless) along their margins. Larger leaf blades are channeled along the middle. The leaf sheaths are transparent-membranous or white-membranous along their inner sides, while their 2 outer sides are light green and glabrous. The apices of the inner sides of these sheaths are shallowly concave. The central stem of each fertile shoot terminates in an inflorescence up to 1' long that consists of 1-3 terminal staminate (male) spikelets, 2-5 pistillate (female spikelets), and their leafy bracts. Some terminal spikelets may be androgynous with many staminate florets and their scales above and a few pistillate florets and their scales below, but this is less typical. Staminate spikelets are 1.0–2 cm. long, whitish tan, straight, and narrow in shape; they have overlapping appressed scales and their florets have 3 anthers. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)