categoryZGrasses Grasses List 

LONG-BRACTED SEDGE

Carex extensa

Sedge Club- & Spike-Rush Family [Cyperaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug

category
category8Grasses
 
status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8brown
male
flower
flower8green
female
petals
petalsZ0
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8triangular
solid
sex
sexZmonoecious
 

11th Sept 2011, Dunbrody, Ireland. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
A clump of the plant flowering replete with long leaves which have a slight curve to give stiffness to them.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are clustered in a small group near the top but there is often one a fair way down the stem.

[The grass with the short, white, dangling anthers below is probably Hard Grass]



2nd July 2009, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A birds-eye view replete with Hard Grass and its tiny white anthers held very close to the stem.


2nd July 2009, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Now you can see the extent of the long bracts.Your Author thinks this specimen is signalling in semaphore.


21st July 2018, Green Beach, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
It is a short sedge growing to 40cm high - here in a moist dune slack. The growing habit of Long-bracted Sedge is of dense tufts.


21st July 2018, Green Beach, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The (usually) two bracts are very long, but not necessarily both angled upwards; one can be angled downwards.


30th June 2018, moist grassland, West Kirby, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
Here the very long bracts are nicely symmetrical as if it was ballet dancing or tight-rope walking. The lowest bract is always much longer than the inflorescence. The upper bract is angled upwards, but the lower bract may be angled upwards or downwards The (here green) female flower spikes (now turned to fruits) are below the single brownish spike of the male flowers, as is usual for sedges.


11th Sept 2011, Dunbrody, Ireland. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
The three bracts are so long they all go off the frame of the photo.


30th June 2018, moist grassland, West Kirby, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
The number of female spikes can vary, here there are 3. It is also not unusual for one female flower spike to be much lower than the others, a few inches lower. The lower leaf has a short sheath.
[The brown spike coming from below the photo does not belong to this plant - but rather probably a second specimen nearby]


30th June 2018, moist grassland, West Kirby, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
Sometimes there are three female flowers.
[The brown spike coming from below the photo does not belong to this particular specimen - but rather probably a second one nearby. Also, the chocolate-brown fruits in abundance around it are probably of a Juncus species]


30th June 2018, moist grassland, West Kirby, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
The female fruits are a greyish-green in colour and somewhat flattened.


30th June 2018, moist grassland, West Kirby, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
The male spike of florets is brown with their anthers still present.


30th June 2018, moist grassland, West Kirby, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
The short sheath on lower bract can be more clearly seen here. It seems to be toothed.


21st July 2018, Green Beach, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits here are turning brown and opening slightly.
The narrowing yellow band in the stalk just below the inflorescence seems to be a regular feature. The stem is lightly fluted/grooved.


21st Sept 2013, moist grass near sea, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Here at least one of the two bracts must have fallen off. This is much later in the season when everything has gone dark brown and the ripe fruits might have dropped to the ground.


11th Sept 2011, Dunbrody, Ireland. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
The white stigmas atop the developing fruits are usually in 3's but some here have but 2.


Some similarities to : Yellow Sedge (Carex demissa) which also has two opposite bracts one pointing upwards, the lower one downwards, but these bracts are shorter. The plant is also yellowish-green.

The female flower heads are usually congregated just below the male flower spike, but there is usually another female flowerhead some way below those. It grows near the sea on muddy or on brackish sandy places in estuaries, especially in saltmarshes. It occurs frequently in coastal parts around most of the British Isles, apart from on the East coast of Britain.


  Carex extensa  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Cyperaceae  

Distribution
 family8Sedge Club- & Spike-Rush family8Cyperaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Carex
Carex
(Sedges)

LONG-BRACTED SEDGE

Carex extensa

Sedge Club- & Spike-Rush Family [Cyperaceae]