Sedge Family — Cyperaceae
|Salt-marsh sedge, Carex glareosa.|
Sedges are common along arctic streams and ponds. Most aquatic species are free floating or rooted, bearing both submersed and aerial leaves. Sedges superficially resemble grasses, but their stems are triangular in cross-section, while grass stems are flat or round. Carex is a very familiar and abundant genus in Canada's Arctic and is well represented in freshwater environments.
General Information and Anatomy
This large family includes grass- or rush-like herbs, which are generally wind pollinated, although some species rely on insects and animals. Their small, drab flowers normally aggregate into spirals to form a dense spike. Sedges are found throughout the Arctic, in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, where they are more ecologically than economically important. Aquatic sedges are common along arctic streams, ponds, and seashores. The aquatic species are either free floating or rooted, and bear submersed and aerial leaves.
Spike-rushes, sedges from the genus Eleocharis, thrive in quiet ponds, muddy banks, and marshes of the Arctic. The slender spike-rush, E. acicularis, the few-flowered spike-rush, E. quinqueflora, and the swamp spike-rush, E. palustris are common in Greenland. The slender spike-rush occurs throughout the Canadian Arctic as well.