Montag, 23. Juli 2012

Plant of the Day (July 23rd, 2012) - Carex hirta L.

This time, I've a new sedge for you. This sedge is Carex hirta L. from the Cyperaceae family. In English, this plant is known as “hairy sedge” and in German as “Haarige Segge” (means the same) or “Raue Segge” (rough sedge).

C. hirta - habitus

It's a grass-like, perennial plant, which can reach heights between 20 and 70 centimetres (7,8 to 27.5 feet). Some individuals also reach a maximum height of 100 centimetres (39.4 feet).
The well-foliated stalk grows upright and is triangular, what's typical for sedges. There are also long rhizomes.

C. hirta - you can see the hairs on stalk and spikelets

The long, narrow leaves are covered with hairs (in some rare cases, the leaves can also be bald) and have a blue-green colour. At the base of the stalk, there are also some small, brown sheaths. Another distinctive feature are the long bracts, which overtopping the inflorescences clearly.

C. hirta  - inflorescence

C. hirta belongs to Heterostachyae; so male and female spikes look different. The male spikes are cylindrical and about 30 millimetres long.
They are located at the end of the stalk. On the other hand, the female spikes are wider and arranged along the stalk. Their bright green beaks are between 5 and 7 millimetres long and taper toward the tip.
Flowering time is between April and July. The seeds are spread out by the wind, by water and by animals.

C. hirta - infloerescence (closer look); you can see here
the hairs and the long beaks

All parts of C. hirta are more or less hairy;, what makes this species to one of only a few sedges with so many hairs. This is also the reason for the name ("hirta" means "hairy").

C. hirta is native to Europa and Asia (except from the High North and Asia minor. It can also be found in North America and New Zealand as Neophyte. This sedge grows on fresh, nutrient-rich soils and likes warm, sunny to semi-shady places. Such places are e. g. meadows, ruderal wastelands and pastures

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