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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Black and Purple Sedge - Carex luzulina var. atropurpurea

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Native Species

Global Rank: G5T4
State Rank: S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
This variety has been collected from five counties in the southwestern Monana mountains.
General Description
This is a perennial plant with clumped stems reaching 15-60 dm in height. Leaves are crowded near the base with flat blades that are 2-4 mm wide. The lower spikes are pistillate, 1-3 cm long, and are borne on erect stalks. Scales of the pistillate spikes are blackish or brownish-purple and pointed at the tip; the perigynia are pubescent with three stigmas and develop into three-sided achenes. The terminal spike is staminate, at least at the top.

Plants are fertile in July and August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The other variety of this species in Montana, C. luzulina var. ablata, has wider leaf blades and round-tipped, greenish, straw-colored, or reddish brown pistillate flower scales. The similar C. misandra has drooping spikes on slender stalks and pistillate flowers located above the staminate ones.

Range Comments
Regional endemic of eastern Idaho, southwestern Montana, and western Wyoming.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Subalpine wet meadows and streamsides.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Heidel, B. L. 1996. Noteworthy collections - Montana. Madrono 43(3):436-440.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Black and Purple Sedge — Carex luzulina var. atropurpurea.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from