Carex media R. Br.
Habitat: Mossy, often calcareous, woods, thickets and shores. [Rocky summits and outcrops (non-forested, upland); Non-tidal rivershore (non-forested, seasonally wet)]
Range: Greenland to Alaska, eastern Quebec, western Ontario. Lake Superior region and in the western mountains.
Aids to Identification: Carex is a large and difficult genus, and technical characters must be used to separate the species. Carex media has perigynia with short, inconspicuous beak; terminal spike gynecandrous; is densely tufted; and with the lowest bract of inflorescence consisting of a blade only, the sheath absent or very short. Carex media is clumped, grows to 60 cm tall, and has loosely ascending to spreading stems and leaves. Its seed heads are aggregated into a terminal cluster, and the uppermost spikelet is entirely pistillate (female) or with staminate (male) flowers only at its base. The seed sacs are 2.5 to 3.5 mm long, taper to a beak, and are spreading or recurved at maturity.
Ecological characteristics: In Maine, known from circumneutral cliffs in small populations.
Phenology: Flowers July to early August.
Synonyms: Carex alpina Liljeblad var. inferalpina Wahlenb; Carex norvegica Retz. var. inferalpina (Wahlenb.) Hultén. Carex norvegica Willd. ex Schkuhr is also a synonym for Carex mackenziei Willd. ex Schkuhr, but the name has been misaplied and is not valid; Carex media has priority.
Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 1 town(s) in the following county(ies): Oxford.
Reason(s) for rarity: Southern limit of its range.
Conservation considerations: Known populations are small, and subject to the vagaries of small populations like random fluctuations or localized disturbance events.