Bottlebrush Sedge (Carex hystericina)

Common Spikerush 

The Bottlebrush Sedge (Carex hystericina) is an emergent plant found on the shores of French Hill Pond. It belongs to the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) and order Cyperales. Carex is Latin for sedge. The photograph above was taken on the west shore of French Hill Pond in August 2010.  The origin of the name is apparent from this photograph as the stem and spike resembles a bottlebrush. The spikes shown in the photograph are the developing fruits. The leaves on this plant are linear and clasping.  The flowers are yellow to green, tiny and clustered in a spikelet. There may be many spikelets on one stem. A short, clasping leaf may extend over the spikelet. 

The fruit is a tiny, yellow to brown, dry seed.

The root system is a short rhizome.

This sedge will hybridize with other species of sedges and there are many species of sedges in Maine. Therefore, many sedges found around French Hill Pond may be hybrids. The plant shown in the photograph above was originally identified as a Common  Spikerush, another similar sedge without clasping leaves on the stem and single spikes. Some plant families with many species, like sedges, make a precise identification of a species difficult especially when hybridization is common and the plant is mixed with other similar plants.

Bottlebrush Sedges are only found in wet areas.  Like other emergent plants, Bottlebrush Sedges help filter runoff water before it enters the pond and stabilize the shoreline.

 

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