Donnerstag, 9. Mai 2013

Plant of the Day (May 9th, 2013) - Carex morrowii BOOT.

Todays's „Plant of the Day“ is Carex morrowii Boot. from the Cyperaceae family. In German, this sedge is known as “Japan-Segge”. In the English language, the species is known as “Variegated Sedge”. In Japan, the species is known as Kansuge
C. morrowii - habitus

1) Description

It's a perennial plant, which can reach a maximum height between 20 and 40 centimeters. The species grow in dense thickets. The long stalks are triangular, what is typical for plants of the Genus Carex. However, in contrast to other sedges, the stalks of C. morrowii aren't so sharp edged and very smooth.

C. morrowii - leaf (note the many leaf-veins and the keel)

The leaves are arranged in small bundles. Their leaf-blade is between 5 and 10 millimeters broad and has a deep-green color. In some cases, there are white stripes along the edges. This stripes are typical for the breed “Variegata”. The surface is thick and stiff, while the margin is very rough because of tiny spikes. There are also many leaf-veins and a pronounced keel at the center. Bracts are very short and become brown and fibrous towards the top.

 C. morrowii - bract

The rhizomes are short, but together, they form a thick tangle.

 C. morrowii - male ear with stamens

C. morrowii belongs to the Heterostachyae, so we have male and female ears. Specifically, there are one male ear at the end of each stalk and between 3 and 5 female ears along each stalk. Male ears are between 2 and 4 centimeters long and nearly narrow. They have a brown color and long, hanging stames.

C. morrowii - female ear with utricles

Female ears are located at the end of erected penduncles. They have a yellowish green color and extend obliquely. Each female flower has three white styli. Another, interesting feature are the recurved beaks of the utricles. “Flowering time” is between April and May. 

C. morrowii - closer look; you can see the thee, white stylie
of each utricle

 2) Distribution

C. morrowii is native to Japan. It grows in mountainous woods on the isles of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu (more common on the pacific side). It prefers fresh and shady places. However, the plant is also a very popular ornamental plant. Especially the breed “Variegata” with its white stripes is very popular. So, C. morrowii can also be found in other parts of the world like Europe or North America. In the most cases, these are garden plants but sometimes, a plant also starts to grow wild.

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