Carex inops Bailey (C. pensylvanica auct. non Lam., C. pensylvanica Lam. var. vespertina Bailey = ssp. inops, C. pensylvanica Lam. var. digyna Boeckl. = ssp. heliophila) Cyperaceae
General: Perennial tufted herb from slender, creeping, branched rhizomes; stems (ten) 20-50 cm tall, clustered, usually longer than the leaves, reddish-brown tinged at the bases. Leaves: Sheaths tight, breaking into threads at the bases; blades flat, channeled below, five to ten per stem, the margins somewhat turned in, borne on the lower 1/3 of stems, 1-3 mm wide, the lower ones slightly reduced. Flowers: Spikes two to four, the terminal one 1-2.5 cm long, the stalks 0.8-10 mm long, with many male flowers, the lower spikes one to three, with female flowers, unstalked to short-stalked, erect; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaf-like, sheathless or short-sheathing, shorter than the inflorescence, the others short, inconspicuous. Fruits: Perigynia broadly egg-shaped to nearly globe-shaped, 2.5-4.5 mm long, 2-2.3 mm wide, dull green, convex, finely short-hairy, with two prominent marginal nerves, the bases short-stalked, bidentate, the beaks 0.5-1.5 mm long; female scales egg-shaped, rounded to tapered, slightly longer to somewhat shorter than the perigynia, straw-coloured to brownish, with lighter midribs, with translucent margins; stigmas three; achenes three-angled, with convex sides above, smooth, 1.8-2.5 mm long. Photo by Emily Gonzales.
Mesic to dry oak woodlands, meadows and rock outcrops in the lowland, montane and steppe zones (Douglas et al., 2001). Dry, open forests and grassy meadows and on rocky slopes at low to moderate elevations (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994). Characteristic of grassy communities and open canopy forests (Klinka et al., 1989).
Nitrogen-medium soils (Klinka et al., 1989).
Moderately dry to moderately moist soils (Klinka et al., 1989).
Shade intolerant (Klinka et al., 1989).
Young seral Douglas-fir forests (Klinka et al., 1989).
bec zone subzone status
Characteristic of meadow communities (Klinka et al., 1989).
Birds may eat achenes.
Plant in contained places in the sun; mix with other tufting grasses/sedges (B. Costanzo, personal communication).
fruit ripening time
August or September.
seed collection time
August or September.
collection and abstraction
Clip seed heads by hand and separate seed from seed head. Dry inflorescences by spreading out over fine screen in an warm, dry, well-ventilated area. Clean seed by hand stripping and using a sieve or air screen cleaner to remove chaff (as per C. rostrata in Rose et al., 1998).
Store dry in refrigerator (as per C. obnupta in Rose et al., 1998), or dry in sealed containers at room temperature with a moisture content of 6-8% for up to 17 months (from C. rostrata in Hurd and Shaw, 1992).
fruit seed dormancy treatment
Sow in February in potting soil and place in hoop house. Germination within one month (as per C. obnupta in Rose et al., 1998). Sow in fall and keep wet outdoors for natural stratification or stratify wet in a refrigerator and sow in February in potting soil and place in a hoop house (for C. rostrata in Rose et al., 1998).
The plant is rhizomatous/stoloniferous, so plants can be divided in early spring or late fall (B. Costanzo, personal communication).
additional info and photos
For more information and pictures, visit the E-Flora BC website at www.eflora.bc.ca.