Carex saxatilis L.

Russett Sedge

Habitat: Peaty, sandy, gravelly or damp shores and margins of pools. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Circumboreal, south to Quebec and northern Maine.

Aids to Identification: Identification of species of the genus Carex is usually difficult and dependent upon rather technical characters. C. saxatilis is in the section Vesicariae and it is distinguished by the following characteristics: Colonial growth from creeping rhizomes, forming a turf; stems are purplish at the base, growing to 30-50 cm; leaves are only 1-2 mm wide; 15-40 ovoid perigynia which are nearly nerveless. It is the only sedge in Maine with a persistent style and bifid stigmas.

Ecological characteristics: Unclear; one present occurrence in Maine. Known from rocky, alpine pondshores and cliffs in Baxter State Park.

Phenology: Fruits July - September.

Family: Cyperaceae

Synonyms: Carex miliaris Michx.; C. rhomalea (Fern.) Mackenzie; Carex saxatilis L. var. miliaris (Michx.) Bailey; Carex saxatilis L. var. rhomalea Fern.

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

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern limit of range; habitat naturally scarce.

Conservation considerations: Populations could be threatened by heavy recreational (hiking) use.