NATURESCENE'S FLORA of the CÉVENNES
Identification of rushes and sedges

www.naturescene.co.uk/flowers

This is a simple guide to identifying all the difficult rushes and sedges of the Cévennes, down to a small goup level.
It has been designed by the author to improve his personal (and limited) knowledge of these plants, and bring a wider range of these often overlooked plants to the Naturescene site.

Simply follow the key down and click on the first plant of the group (after noting how many in the group.)
In the tablet version, you can continue through every plant in the area

In the on-line web version, only those plants found to date will be displayed (hence sometimes a non-operative link)

LET'S BEGIN!

Either:-

JUNCACEAE—RUSH FAMILY– FAMILLE DES JONCS

Flowers like normal flowers 2 x 3 tepals; 1 or 2 x 3 stamens; 3 stigmas
Flowers in clusters (inflorescences) called spikes;, with small individual flowers.
Leaves may be grass-like straps, or tubular.
or:-

CYPERACEAE—SEDGE FAMILY– FAMILLE DES LAICHES

Plants grass-like, with no obvious petal structure Each flower (spikelet) has no petals, no perianth (except some with bristly perianth becoming silky in fruit).
Flower (spikelet)subtended by a single glume (bract).
Stem usually triangular.
or:-

POACEAE—GRASS FAMILY– FAMILLE DES GRAMINÉES

Plants grass-like, rather unsurprisingly, with no obvious petal structure Each flower (spikelet) has no petals, no perianth

Flower (spikelet) subtended by two glumes (bracts), perhaps extended into an awn.
Stem usually round.

A key is under development. Come back later


Return to choose family

JUNCACEAE—RUSH FAMILY– FAMILLE DES JONCS

Flowers like normal flowers 2 x 3 tepals; 1 or 2 x 3 stamens; 3 stigmas.

Leaves may be grass-like straps, or tubular. Flowers in clusters (inflorescences) called spikes</> with small individual flowers.

Juncaceae - the RUSH family (species Juncus and Luzula)
Flowers like normal flowers Petals and sepals small, and similar
Either:- Juncus species leaves hairless, many seeds
or:- Luzula species Hairy along stem, at least at base

Juncus species of the Juncaceae family

Leaves hariless

Juncus species - RUSHES (Fr.les joncs)
Juncus species leaves hairless, many seeds. Single cluster of flowers per stem. Leaf may be tubular or grass-like. Grows as a cluster, or along rhizomes Check: Texture of stem (pith, corrugated) and leaves (compartments). Clump or rhizome. Height of tepals/fruit. Seeds.
Either:- Inflorescence appears below stem tip (‘bract’ above, which is a stem-like leaf) 4 species in the Cévennes. Start with Juncus inflexus
Also Juncus effusus, Juncus conglomeratus, Juncus filiformis
or:- Inflorescence at stem tip
Either:-
(Inflorescence at stem tip)
Leaves compartmented across blade (feel with fingers) 5 species in the Cévennes. Start with Juncus articulatus Also Juncus alpino-articulatus, Juncus acutiflorus, Juncus striatus, Juncus pygmaeus (also next group, as compartments not always obvious)
or:-
(Inflorescence at stem tip)
Leaves not compartmented, tubular 2 species in the Cévennes. Start with Juncus pygmaeus (also in previous group, as leaves slightly knotty) Also Juncus bulbosus
or:-
(Inflorescence at stem tip)
Leaves not compartmented, blade flat or with canal 7 species in the Cévennes. Start with Juncus squarrosus Also Juncus compressus Juncus trifidus, Juncus tenuis, Juncus capitatus, Juncus bufonius, Juncus tenageia

Return to rush family
or
Start again

Luzula species of the Juncaceae family

Leaves hairy (at least at base). Few seeds, with a food store (called an 'eliaosome') attached for ants

Luzula species - WOODRUSHES (Fr.les luzules)
Luzula Hairy along stem. Check: Colour of tepals. Seeds for eliaosome and general shape.
Either:- Each individual flower has a long stalk. Seeds with eliaosome > 0.6mm 3 species in the Cévennes. Start with Luzula forsteri

Also Luzula luzulina, Luzula pilosa
or:- Individual flowers do not have own stalk
Either:- Flowers remain whitish or reddish as they fade, branched glomeruli (flower clusters), entire leaf hairy 3 species in the Cévennes. Start with Luzula nivea Also Luzula luzuloides, Luzula sylvatica (also next group, as variable)
or:- Flowers dark brown as they fade, small glomeruli, no eliaosome 2 species in the Cévennes. Start with Luzula sylvatica (also previous group, as variable)
( Also Luzula desvauxii
or:- Flowers dark brown as they fade, large glomeruli, obvious eliaosome 5 species in the Cévennes. Start with Luzula campestris
Also Luzula multiflora, Luzula congesta, Luzula sudetica, Luzula spicata

Return to all Luzula
or Return to Juncaceae family
or Start again

CYPERACEAE—SEDGE FAMILY– FAMILLE DES LAICHES

Plants grass-like, with no obvious petal structure
No petals, no perianth (except some with bristly perianth becoming silky in fruit).

Each flower is a glume (bract) + perianth (petals/sepals - absent or reduced to bristles in e.g. Eriophorum) + single stamen and/or ovary.
Single flower forms the spikelet (Fr épillet) in Carex, or a cluster of flowers forms the spikelet (Fr épillet) in all others)
Spikelets either solitary , or branched or form a spike (Fr épi). Spikelets are often subtended by bracts

Leaves often reduced to sheaths, mostly triangular stems.
Each flower is either just 2-3 stamens, or ovary with 2-3 styles, or both

Cyperaceae - the SEDGE family (main species Carex, Eriophorum and Eleocharis)
Plants grass-like, with no obvious petal structure No petals, no perianth (except some with bristly perianth becoming silky in fruit)
Either:- Carex - true sedges. Male and female individual flowers (spikelet, Fr épillet) on separate areas of same stalks, or rarely male and female on different stalks.
Spikelet contains a single flower.
Triangular stem. 53 species of this genus in PNC
see 'True sedges' table
or:- Not true sedges Male and female parts together in each spikelet. Spikelet contains a group of flowers, often tightly grouped as an inflorescence at the stem tip See 'not true sedges' table

Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again

True sedges - Carex species of the Cyperaceae family

Warning: sedges can be very variable, and several plants must be examined to determine typical features. Thus one photo may be misleading.
For full identification of many species, the flower and the seed structure is needed, but this key should help narrow the field.

True sedges - Carex species.
Carex Male and female individual flowers on separate areas of same stalks, or rarely male and female on different stalks Check: sex of each spikelet (flower, Fr épillet) within the inflorescence (spike, Fr épi))
Either:- Spikes dissimilar, with distinctive separate male and female spikes along stem see 'Carex: Separate male and female spikes'
or:- Spikes all similar, with male and female flowers on same spikes along multi-spike stem see 'Carex: Combined male and female spikes '

Return to all Carex species
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Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again
Carex: Separate male and female flowers
Carex: 1 of 2 sub-groups Spikes dissimilar, with distinctive male and female spikes along stem Check: Do most spikes overlap, especially the male and top female spikes?
Note: very variable, examine several spikes
Either:- (most) spikes overlapping, clustered together at tip 9 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex flava Also Carex umbrosa, Carex tomerntosa,Carex lepidocarpa, Carex mairei and in drier areas, Carex pilulifera, Carex caryophyllea, Carex pallescens, Carex montana
or:- Spikes not overlapping
One male spike (or a tiny 2nd), females on peduncles. Often in dryish or woodland areas.
14 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex liparocarpos Also Carex halleriana, Carex sylvatica, Carex digitata, Carex frigida, Carex panicea, Carex distans, Carex alba, Carex olbiensis, Carex depauperata, Carex depressa subsp. basilaris, Carex limosa, Carex punctate, Carex strigosa
or:- Spikes not overlapping
one male spike (or a tiny 2nd), females not on peduncles (except perhaps lowest)
8 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex humilis Also Carex otrubae, Carex pendula (variable no. of male spikes) , Carex demissa , Carex hostiana, Carex ornithopoda. Carex brachystachys
or:- Spikes not overlapping
male spikes more than 1 (usually)
8 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex nigra Also Carex rostrata, Carex vesicaria, Carex flacca, Carex hirta, Carex acuta, Carex riparia, Carex acutiformis

Return to all Carex species
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Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again
Carex:spikes all similar, with male and female flowers mixed together, or single uni-sex spike
Carex: 2 of 2 sub-groups Spikes not clearly differentiated into male spikes and female spikes
Either:- spikes all similar, with individual male and female flowers on single spike on stem 3 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex pulicaris Also Carex oedipostyla, Carex pauciflora
or:- spikes either male or female 1 species in the Cévennes Carex davalliana
or:- spikes all similar, with male and female flowers on same spikes along multi-spike stem
If multi-spike stem,either:- spikes usually stalkless, and overlapping in a dense roundish inflorescence at tip of stem 9 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex echinata Also Carex paniculata, Carex canescens, Carex distachya, Carex pairae, Carex spicata, Carex leporina, Carex vulpina, Carex disticha
If multi-spike stem,or:- spikes usually stalkless, but not overlapping in a lax inflorescence; or lower spikes stalked 1 species in the Cévennes. Start with Carex divulsa Also Carex remota

Return to all Carex species
or
Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again

Sedge family but not true sedges (i.e. not Carex spp.)

Male and female parts together in each flower.
Spikelet contains a group of flowers, often tightly grouped as an inflorescence at the stem tip >
Same family (Cyperaceae) as Carex, but not true sedges
Several genera Male and female parts together in each spikelet Check: form of spikelet, leafy bracts around inflorescence, leaves
Either:- Glumes in 2 ranks (like barley), all individual flowers bisexual see Cyperus (papyrus) and Schoenus
or:- Glumes in a spiral, all individual flowers bisexual see Eriophorum (cotton grass), Eleocharis and Scirpus

Sedge family but not true sedges - 1 of 2 groups Glumes in 2 ranks

Return to all non-Carex species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
or
Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again
Non-Carex: Male and female flowers together: Glumes in 2 ranks :
Cyperus spp. and Schoenus Glumes in 2 ranks (like barley), one or several large leaf-like bracts just below inflorescence
Either:- Cyperus spp.: - inflorescence with leafy rosette of bracts below. Triangular stem. 4 species in the Cévennes. Start with Cyperus longus Also Cyperus badius, Cyperus esculentus, Cyperus eragrositis
or:- Schoenus spp.: clustered inflorescence of 5-20 spikelets of 1-4 flowers, with l tall bract, 1 small below. Round stem 1 species in the Cévennes. Schoenus nigricans

Sedge family but not true sedges - 2 of 2 groups Glumes in a spiral

Return to all non-Carex species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again
Non-Carex: Male and female flowers together: Glumes in a spiral:
Eriophorum, Eleocharis and Scirpus types Perianth of bristles (effectively the remnants of petals/sepals), which often elongate considerably to surround the fruit
Either:- Eriophorum spp. Perianth of bristles which become long cottony threads in fruit. Tendency for triangular tip to stems 4 species in the Cévennes. Start with Eriophorum angustifolium Also Eriophorum latifolium, Eriophorum vaginatum, Eriophorum gracile
or:- Eleocaris spp. Single round stem, leaf reduced to sheath, and compressed terminal inflorescence. Perianth -> bristly silks in fruit 6 species in the Cévennes. Start with Eleocharis palustris Also Eleocharis quinquiflora Eleocharis acicularis Eleocharis ovata, Eleocharis multicaulis, Eleocharis uniglumis
or:- Rhynchospora spp. Clustered inflorescence of white flowers. Triangular stem. 1 species in the Cévennes. Rhynchospora alba
or:- Scirpus and similar species Inflorescence subtended by tall ‘leaf blade’ (bract), mostly with bristles that become silky in fruit (previously all ‘Scirpus’ spp.) 5 species in the Cévennes. Choose from those below
Either:- (Scirpus type with single tall bract) Loose drooping much-branched terminal inflorescence with leaf-like bracts, perianth of bristles which remain fairly short in fruit. Triangular stems. Scirpus sylvaticus
or:- (Scirpus type with single tall bract) Tall, tight clustered terminal inflorescences, with very tall leaf-like bract, no bristles. Round stems. Scirpoides holoschoenus
or:- (Scirpus type with single tall bract) Like Scirpoides, but tiny. Round stems. Isolepis setacea
or:- (Scirpus type with single tall bract) Like Isolepis, but taller spikes, stems with triangular tips perianth -> silky bristles around fruit Blysmus compressus
or:- (Scirpus type with single tall bract) Like Eleocaris, with single stem and compressed terminal inflorescence , but has 1 small leaf, silky bristles around fruit. Round stem. Trichophorum cespitosum

Return to all non-Carex species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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Return to all species in the sedge family (Cyperaceae)
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or Start again

THE END - I do hope you found what you were looking for

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