Carex rariflora (Wahlenb.) Sm.

Loose-Flowered Sedge

Habitat: Peaty barrens, bogs, and pond margins.

Range: Labrador and Quebec south to Maine west to Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.

Aids to Identification: Identification of members of the genus Carex is difficult and depends on technical characteristics. Carex rariflora is a member of the section Limosae, a group recognized by a dense covering of yellowish hairs on the roots as well as trigonous achenes, sheathless carpellate spikes, glabrous perigynia and leaves, beakless preigynia, and carpellate scales exceeding the perigynia. Carex rariflora is recognized from other members of the section by having beakless perigynia (C. limosa has a very minute (.1-.5mm) beak) and carpellate scales that are wider than the perigynia which lack an awn.

Ecological characteristics: One occurrence of this sedge was documented on Mt. Katahdin, and another occurrence was documented from a coastal bog.

Phenology: Fruiting July and August

Family: Cyperaceae

Synonyms: Carex limosa L. var. rariflora Wahlenb.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has historically been documented from a total of 2 towns in the following counties: Piscataquis, Washington.

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern limit of range. Hiker traffic may have extirpated populations on Mt. Katahdin.

Conservation considerations: Unknown, has not been seen recently.