Carex laxiculmis Schwein.
State Rank: S2
Global Rank: G5
State Status: Endangered
Habitat: Rich woods and glades, streambanks. [Hardwood to mixed forest (forest, upland)]
Range: Southern Maine to southern Ontario, west to Wisconsin, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee.
Aids to Identification: Members of this genus can be difficult to identify without careful examination of microscopic features and knowledge of general groups of species. C. laxiculmis, in the section Laxiflorae, is characterized by slender culms with relatively few-flowered, long-peduncled pistillate spikes and one terminal staminate spike raised well above the pistillate ones. Achenes are sharply three-angled. The basal rosettes of leaves are glaucous or pale green. C. laxiculmis is closely related to several species which also occur in Maine, and more commonly: C. digitalis, C. platyphylla, and C. plantaginea, and it hybridizes with C. digitalis. Carex laxiculmis has leaves up to 12 mm wide and the lowest 1-3 scales of carpellate spikes empty or subtending staminate flowers.
Ecological characteristics: Little currently known about this species in Maine. The two occurrences are in hardwood forests with a red oak component.
Phenology: Flowers May to early July.
Synonyms: Represented in Maine and New England by var. laxiculmis
Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 6 town(s) in the following county(ies): Sagadahoc, Somerset, York.S
Reason(s) for rarity: At northern limit of range.
Conservation considerations: Known populations are small and subject to the vagaries of small populations such as random fluctuations or localized disturbance events.