Carex eburnea Boot

Ebony Sedge

Habitat: Calcareous ledges, gravels or sands. [Rocky summits and outcrops (non-forested, upland); Non-tidal rivershore (non-forested, seasonally wet)]

Range: New Brunswick to Alberta, south to Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Aids to Identification: Carex is a large and difficult genus, and technical characters must be relied upon to separate the species. Carex eburnea has very narrow leaves (up to 0.5 mm), small perigynia (1-2 mm long), and white or white-brown carpellate scales. Carex eburnea is a short (less than 50 cm), fragile sedge that grows from creeping runners (stolons). Its stems and leaves are thin and wiry, and its small (less than 1 cm) spikelets are differentiated among 2-4 pistillate (female) spikelet and one staminate (male) spikelet. The perigynia are blackish and shiny and have whitish scales (bract-like coverings).

Ecological characteristics: In Maine, this sedge is known from calcareous cliffs and rivershore ledges.

Phenology: Flowers May - July.

Family: Cyperaceae

Synonyms: None noted.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 2 town(s) in the following county(ies): Aroostook, Oxford.

Reason(s) for rarity: Habitat naturally scarce in Maine.

Conservation considerations: Unknown.