True Sedge - Carex
|Salt-marsh sedge, Carex glareosa.|
Plants in the genus Carex are common in Canada's Arctic, and are recognized by their solid triangular stems and flat leaf blades. Four species in this genus are classified as marine macrophytes: the lesser salt-marsh sedge, C. glareosa, Mackenzie's sedge, C. mackenziei, the curved sedge, C. maritima, and Hoppner's sedge, C. subspathacea.
General Information and Anatomy
Typically Carex leaves sheath the plant's base, and are long and linear in shape. Their flowers usually form a spike and are unattractive; female flowers are the fruit-bearers, yielding a small nut, which is enclosed in a sac. The fruits are often dispersed via water and by animals that feed on them, particularly waterfowl. Interbreeding between Carex species is common and usually produces fertile, hybrid offspring.
Carex mackenziei occurs in a variety of wet, saline habitats, especially in salt marshes associated with estuaries, while C. maritima prefers sandy shorelines. Both of these plants can be found throughout the Arctic. C. glareosa prefers saline or brackish shores and salt marshes, while C. subspathacea favours muddy saline shores and poorly vegetated salt marshes.