Pale Sedge - Carex livida
MNPS Threat Rank
Long-rhizomatous. Stems erect, 10–40 cm. Leaves pale green, basal and lower-cauline; blades 1–4 mm wide. Inflorescence of 2 or 3 well-separated spikes; the lowest bract longer or shorter than the inflorescence. Spikes unisexual; the uppermost male, narrow, 7–20 mm long; the lower female, ascending, short-pedunculate, 1–2 cm long, cylindric. Perigynia ascending, pale green, narrowly elliptic, glabrous, glaucous, 2–3.5 mm long, beakless, tapered at both ends; stigmas 3. Female scales tan to brown with a green midstripe, ca. as long as the perigynia. Achene 3-sided, nearly filling the perigynium (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)
Fruit mature in late June-early August.
Carex is a very large genus, making it sometimes difficult to identify individual species. Specimens with mature fruit are necessary for positive identification. Carex livida has a distinctly pale, waxy appearance to the foliage in the field, and a densely bumpy surface on the perigynium that is diagnostic. A hand lens or microscope and technical key are needed for positive identification. In its habitat of calcareous fens, C. livida is best distinguished by its relatively short stature and glaucous foliage.
Circumboreal south to CA, WY, 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:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Wet, organic soils of fens in the foothill and montane zones.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Caicco, S. L. 1987. Field investigations of selected sensitive plant species on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Idaho Natural Heritage Program, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, Idaho. 44 pp.
- Cooper, D. J. 1991. Additions to the peatland flora of the southern Rocky Mountains: habitat description and water chemistry. Madrono 38(2): 139-143.
- Fertig, W. and G. Jones. 1992. Plant communities and rare plant species of the Swamp Lake Botanical Area, Clark's Fork Ranger District, Shoshone National Forest. Unpublished report to the Shoshone National Forest. Challenge Cost Share Agreement No. CSA-2-91-14-0001. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. 113+ pp.
- Hermann, F. J. 1970. Manual of the Carices of the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Basin. Agricultural Handbook No. 374. USDA Forest Service. 397 pp.
- Lesica, P. 1986. Vegetation and flora of Pine Butte fen, Teton County, Montana. The Great Basin Naturalist 46(1): 22-32.
- Lesica, P. 1991. The Rare Vascular Plants of Pine Butte Swamp Preserve. Unpublished Report to the Nature Conservancy. 15 Pp.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Mattson, D. J. 1984. Classification and environmental relationships of wetland vegetation in central Yellowstone National Park. Unpublished thesis, University of Idaho, Moscow. 409 pp.