Friday, April 27, 2012


Anyone who owns a “Flora of …” field guide has surely noticed that the Genus Carex can easily chew-up 50 plus pages of dichotomous key without the help of pictures or line drawings.  It is intimidating.  Ohio is home to more than 160 different species of sedges easily making it the largest genera in the flora.  One of the primary characteristics used to identify sedges to species are the perigynia, an inflated sac containing the achene (seed).  Usually a 20X hand lens is needed to observe the characteristics of these structures as most of them are around 3-4mm long.  I have only been interested in sedges for a few years, but from my first look through the hand lens I was struck by the beauty of sedges especially when magnified.

Here is a banner of 11 different perigynia all from sedges native to northeast Ohio – can you identify any of them?


  1. So pretty Nate. Have you by any chance see the recently published book "Seeing Trees" by Nancy Ross Hugo and photographer Robert Llewellyn. He took close-up photos of parts of trees that are absolutely gorgeous. With your sensitivities to the microscopic, I thought you might enjoy it. Nancy's writing is wonderful, too.

  2. I've studied some of the Carex sedges found in Missouri. I love the various shapes and found your post very interesting.

  3. No I can't. This is a beautiful set of drawings. I just look at these grasses and say to myself another grass. I will be looking a little closer now though. I wish you would tackle ferns too. There are so many of them and they are also very similar. Maybe not as bad as grass but, confusing to the unschooled.


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