Carex sect. Limosae

(Heuffel) Meinshauser

Trudy Imp. S.-Peterburgsk. Bot. Sada 18: 283. 1901.

Basionym: Limosae Heuffel Flora 27: 533. 1844
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 23.

Plants loosely cespitose, short-rhizomatous; roots with dense yellow tomentum. Culms red- or purple-brown at base. Leaves: basal sheaths fibrous; sheath fronts membranous, spotted or streaked with red or pale brown; blades V-shaped in cross section when young, sometimes involute, glabrous. Inflorescences racemose, with 2–5 spikes; proximal bracts sheathless or sheath less than 4 cm; lateral spikes pistillate, androgynous, or gynecandrous, pedunculate, prophyllate; terminal spikes staminate, gynecandrous. Proximal pistillate scales with apex obtuse to acuminate or awned. Perigynia ascending, inflated, (3–)5–7-veined on abaxial face, veinless or 3–7-veined on adaxial face, stipitate or sessile, broadly elliptic or ovate, rounded-trigonous in cross section, base tapering or rounded, apex tapering or rounded to beak or beakless, minutely papillose; beak 0–0.5 mm, mouth entire or emarginate. Stigmas 3. Achenes trigonous, almost as large as bodies of perigynia; style deciduous or persistent portion protruding from perigynium mouth.


Cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and South America.


Species 6 (6 in the flora).

The species of Carex sect. Limosae can be readily recognized by the dense yellowish indumentum on the roots. If collected without the roots they can be confused with species of C. sect. Racemosae, sect. Scitae, and sect. Paniceae.


1 Scales, at least some, on each spike with awns 1.5–12 mm. > 2
1 Scales not awned, or with awn less than 1.5 mm. > 3
2 Perigynia 2.5–3.6 mm; scales with awn usually to 3mm; anthers 1.6–2.5 mm. Carex magellanica
2 Perigynia 3.8–6.8 mm; scales with awn to 12 mm; anthers 3.3–5 mm. Carex macrochaeta
3 Pistillate scales 1.2–2 mm wide, narrower than perigynia. > 4
3 Pistillate scales 2–3.8 mm wide, wider than perigynia. > 5
4 Proximal bracts equaling or exceeding inflorescences; terminal spikes 7–20 mm; pistillate scales usually exceeding perigynia. Carex magellanica
4 Proximal bracts shorter than inflorescences; terminal spikes 20–50 mm; pistillate scales usually shorter than perigynia. Carex barrattii
5 Perigynia with beak 0.1–0.5 mm; leaf blades grayish blue-green, margins involute; culms usually aphyllopodic, without dead leaf remains at base. Carex limosa
5 Perigynia not beaked; leaf blades green, margins sometimes involute or revolute; culms phyllopodic, usually with dead leaf remains at base. > 6
6 Lateral spikes with 2–10 perigynia; terminal spikes 1–2.5 mm wide; apex of pistillate scale obtuse, sometimes mucronate. Carex rariflora
6 Lateral spikes with (7–)10–25 perigynia; terminal spikes 2–3 mm wide; apex of pistillate scale acute to acuminate, mucronate or shortly awned. Carex pluriflora