Creeping Sedge - Carex chordorrhiza
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is known from fens and wet meadows in the northwest corner of the state. Generally does not appear to be threatened by any particular activities, though populations are susceptible to hydrologic changes.
Stoloniferous. Stems usually prostrate, clothed in old leaf bases, 10–25 cm. Leaves cauline; blades 1–2 mm wide, channeled . Inflorescence of 3 to 5 sessile spikes, densely aggregated, appearing like 1 ovoid head; lowest bract scale-like. Spikes 4–8 mm long, all similar; male flowers above, few female below. Perigynia spreading to ascending, brown, ovoid, 2.5–3.5 mm, with an entire beak 0.5 mm long; stigmas 2. Female scales brown with a pale midvein and margins, ca. as long as the perigynia. Achene 2-sided, filling the perigynium (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
Fruit matures in July.
The strict peatland habitat and small heads help distinguish this species. Carex simulata also occurs in mires but has smaller perigynia with more than 5 per spike. A hand lens and technical manual should be used for positive identification.
Circumboreal south to OR, MT, IN and NY (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Wet, organic soil of fens in the montane zone.
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
- Bernard, J. M. 1989. Life history and vegetative reproduction in Carex. Canadian Journal of Botany 68: 1441-1448.
- Bowles, M. L., M. M. DeMauro, N. Pavlovic, and R. D. Hiebert. 1990. Effects of anthropogenic disturbances on endangered and threatened plants at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Natural Areas Journal. 10(4): 187-200.
- Bowles, M. L., W. J. Hess, and M. M. DeMauro. 1985. An assessment of the monitoring program for special floristic elements at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Phase 1. The endangered species. Unpublished report prepared for the Morton Arborrtum, Lisle, IL.
- Bowles, M. L., W. J. Hess,M. M. DeMauro, and R. D. Hiebert. 1986. Endangered plant inventory and monitoring strategies at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Natural Areas Journal. 6(1): 18-26.
- Bradley, Anne F. 1990. Glacier Park rare plants in Fire Effects data base. Unpublished paper. Not paged.
- Bursik, Rob. 1988. Rare plant data from specimens at the University of Idaho Herbarium, Moscow.
- Ebersole, J. L. 1987. Short-term vegetation recovery at an Alaskan arctic coastal plain site. Arctic and Alpine Research. 19(4): 442-450.
- Fernald, M. L. 1919. Lithological factors limiting the ranges of Pinus banksiana and Thuja occidentalis. Rhodora 21(243): 41-67.
- Haag, R. W. 1974. Nutrient limitations to plant production in two tundra communities. Canadian Journal of Botany 52: 103-116.
- Hutchings, M. J. 1979. Weight-density relationships in ramet populations of clonal perennial herbs, with special reference to the -3/2 power rule. Journal of Ecology 67(1): 21-33.
- Jankovska, V., and K. Rybnicek. 1988. The genus Carex in the Late Glacial and Holocene of Czechoslovakia. Aquatic Botany 30: 23-37.
- Kershaw, K. A. 1974. Studies on lichen-dominated systems. X. The sedge meadows of the coastal raised beaches. Canadian Journal of Botany 52: 1947-1972.
- Lesica, P. 1994. The distribution of plant community diversity associated with glacial wetlands in the Ovando Valley, Montana. [Unpublished report.] The Nature Conservancy, Montana Field Office, Helena. 26 pp.
- Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Nicholson, B. J., and D. H. Vitt. 1990. The paleoecology of a peatland complex in continental western Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany. 68(1): 121-138.
- Page, S. E., and J. O. Rieley. 1985. The ecology and distribution of Carex chordorrhiza L. fil. Watsonia 15: 253-259.
- Schuyler, A.E. 1980. Carex chordorrhiza in Glacier National Park, Montana. Rhodora 82:519.
- Slack, N. G., D. H. Vitt, and D. G. Horton. 1980. Vegetation gradients of minerotrophically rich fens in western Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany 58: 330-350.