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Three-way sedge is a perennial rhizomatous species that is widely found across North America. It is found in almost all states and provinces in the eastern half of the continent (exclusive of Labrador), and in some states and provinces in the west (USDA 2011). In British Columbia, it ranges across the southernmost part of the province--it is encountered frequently in the southwestern corner of the province, but rarely in the southeast. It occurs in wet meadows, lakeshores and streamsides in the lowland, steppe and montane zones and will often appear along streams (and in streambeds) that flow through bogs in the Fraser delta, and in ditches in the region. It has distinctive step-like leaves that are 120 degrees apart and are arranged spirally on the stem. View a video of identification of this species, with Tony Reznicek.
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General: Perennial herb from deep-seated rhizomes; stems erect, arising singly, 30-100 cm tall.
Leaves: Numerous, well-developed, along the stem, the uppermost 3-ranked; upper sheaths often overlapping; blades firm, flat, 4-15 cm long, 2.5-8 mm wide, the lower bladeless.
Flowers: Inflorescence elongate with numerous, axillary spikes emerging from leaf sheaths, the stalks more or less exserted, the internodes of the axis of the inflorescence about 2 mm long, the spikelets 2-ranked, 7 to 10, 1-2.5 cm long, slender, about 2 mm wide or less; stamens 3; stigmas 2-cleft; bracts 2-ranked, 3-8 mm wide, strongly veined, the tips short-pointed, the margins translucent.
Fruits: Scales several-nerved, narrow, pointed or long-pointed, 5-8 mm long, rachilla easily disarticulating at maturity; perianth bristles brownish, 5 to 8, 3-8 mm long, with reflexed barbs, persistent; achenes narrowly ellipsoid, more or less flat, yellow, mostly 2.5-3 mm long excluding the short (to 1 mm long) stalks, beaked by the persistent, undivided portion of the styles, surpassed by the perianth bristles.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. 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:
23/09/2019 1:02:00 PM
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