General: Perennial, tufted herb from long, creeping rhizomes; stems triangular, with smooth edges, 15-120 cm tall, equalling the leaves.
Leaves: Sheaths tight, short; blades flat, well distributed along the stem, 3-7 mm wide, the lower ones slightly reduced.
Flowers: The terminal spikes 1 to 3, short-stalked, with male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 7, with female flowers, unstalked or with short stalks, 3-14 cm long, erect; bracts subtending the spikes leaflike, sheathless, the lower ones longer than the inflorescence, the upper ones reduced.
Fruits: Perigynia egg-shaped, 2-3.6 mm long, 1.3-2.3 mm wide, brownish-green, 3-angled, the angles rounded, smooth to somewhat wrinkled, 2-nerved, the beaks entire; female scales egg-shaped, shorter than or about as long as the perigynia, often shortly awn-tipped, brownish-red to blackish, with lighter 3-nerved centres, with translucent margins; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, granular, 1.4-1.8 mm long. Two subspecies may be recognized in BC 1. Male spikes 2 to 3; plants generally more than 20 cm tall; plants more common southward ssp. aquatilis 1. Male spike 1; plants generally less than 20 cm tall; plants more common northward ssp. stans (Drej.) Hult.
Wet meadows, fens, streambanks and lakeshores in all vegetation zones; common throughout BC, less frequent along the coast; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to MA, VA, IN, MO, KA, NM, AZ and CA; Greenland, Eurasia.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-10-17 8:05:35 AM
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