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Carex livida (Wahlenb.) Willd.

Photo: Carex livida

Livid Sedge

Habitat: Calcareous meadows, bogs and depressions. [Open wetland, not coastal nor rivershore (non-forested, wetland)]

Range: Circumboreal, south to Newfoundland, northern Maine, New York, and New Jersey westward to California .

Aids to Identification: Identification of species of the genus Carex is usually difficult and dependent upon rather technical characters. C. livida is in the section Paniceae and it is distinguished by the following characteristics: leaves that are whitish, thin, and narrow (0.5-3.5 mm); perigynia 2.2-4.6 mm long and lacking a beaked tip; stems are smooth and a single stem or a few grow from long rhizomes; sterile, leafy tufts are common. The name refers to the plants bright white roots.

Photo: Carex livida

Ecological characteristics: Typically found growing in circumneutral fen communities, often in association with several other sedge species such as Carex exilis.

Phenology: Fruits May - July.

Family: Cyperaceae

Synonyms: Formerly referred to Carex livida var. radicaulis Paine and Carex livida var. grayana (Dewey) Fern.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 8 town(s) in the following county(ies): Aroostook, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis.

Dates of documented observations are: 1941, 1982, 1984 (2), 1985, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1998

Reason(s) for rarity: Scarce in southern portion of range; scarcity of suitable calcareous habitat.

Conservation considerations: Maintain hydrology of the circumneutral fen habitats in which it occurs.