Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Carex vaginata


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1994. Carex vaginata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : CARVAG SYNONYMS : Carex saltuensis Bailey [7,9,21] SCS PLANT CODE : CAVA2 COMMON NAMES : sheathed sedge TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of sheathed sedge is Carex vaginata Tausch [1,9,11]. It is in the family Cyperaceae. There are no currently accepted infrataxa. The American plant is sometimes separated taxonomically and named Carex saltuensis Bailey [7]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The distribution of sheathed sedge is circumboreal [1,12]. It extends south in the United States to Maine and west to northern Minnesota. It extends across Canada, but has not been reported from Manitoba [7,9,11]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir STATES : AK ME MI MN NY VT WI AB BC NB NF NT ON PQ SK YT BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 37 Northern white-cedar 107 White spruce SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : In the western area of the Northwest Territories, (south of the arctic circle and to the west of Great Bear Lake) in a subarctic black spruce (Picea mariana) ecosystem, sheathed sedge is one of nine species that form the dominant understory cover and biomass of the vascular plants. The other associated species are bog Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), blueberry willow (Salix myrtillifolia), littletree willow (Salix arbusculoides), red fruit bearberry (Arctostaphylos rubra), bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), sedge (Carex membranacea), and polargrass (Arctagrostis latifolia) [13]. Sheathed sedge is associated with a wide variety of species. Associated species are listed for white spruce (Picea glauca)-green alder (Alnus crispa)-willow (Salix spp.) communities in northwestern Northwest Territories [10]. Associates are listed for low shrub birch (Betula glandulosa)-willow-green alder communities and for white spruce (Picea glauca)-balsam poplar (Populus balsamifer) communities in south-central Alaska [20]. Associates are also listed for the boreal forest of eastern Ontario and western Quebec [3], northern Ontario [17], and central Saskatchewan, Canada [5]. Sheathed sedge grows in tundra communities as well as in the boreal forest [23].


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Sheathed sedge and other vegetation in wet sedge meadows underlain by permafrost in the northwestern Northwest Territories are highly susceptible to disturbance by roads and seismic lines in summer. They are least affected by winter operations. Sheathed sedge increased from 0 percent to 2.1 percent cover (equal to control plots) over 2 years on the disturbed seismic lines [10].


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Sheathed sedge is a native, perennial, monoecious graminoid [12]. Culms are 4 to 24 inches (10-60 cm) tall [7,9]. Principal foliage leaves are basal [11], mostly shorter than the culms [7], and 0.06 to 0.20 inches (1.5-5 mm) wide [1,7]. The terminal inflorescence is a spike 0.4 to 0.8 inches (1-2 cm) long; there are one to three lateral spikes as well. The fruit is a small triangular achene [1]. The perigynia surrounding the achene is ovoid and 0.12 to 0.20 inches (3-5 mm) long [7]. There are 3 to 20 perigynia per spike [1]. Sheathed sedge has long, slender rhizomes [7,9]; it also has stolons [7,12]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sheathed sedge sprouts from perennating buds at the base of the culms and from rhizomes and stolons [7]. It also reproduces by seed [9]. In disturbed sites in the northwestern Northwest Territories, sheathed sedge grew and expanded from intact rhizomes. Some seed establishment may also have occurred [10]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Sheathed sedge occurs on a wide variety of substrates and in a variety of moisture regimes, from hydric to mesic. It occurs in moist to wet mossy woods, bogs, and other wet places [11,12]. In west-central Alberta it occurs on poor to rich, wet soils [4]. In boreal forest in central Saskatchewan, sheathed sedge occurs on soil that shows no evidence of standing water at any time during the year [5]. In south-central Alaska sheathed sedge occurs on soils containing 70 to 85 percent sand [20]. In the northeastern United States it occurs chiefly on calcareous soils [7,9]. Sheathed sedge in boreal forest in eastern Ontario occurs on wet coniferous sites with acidic peat substrates [3]. Sheathed sedge at some sites in south-central Alaska occurs on soil with pH of 5.4 to 6.7 [20]. In Alaska sheathed sedge occurs from sea level to at least 2,494 feet (760 m) elevation [12,20]. In west-central Alberta it is found from 1,641 to 4,593 feet (500-1,400 m) [4]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Most information on the role of sheathed sedge in succession is related to fire. See the Plant Response to Fire section of FIRE EFFECTS. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Sheathed sedge blooms from June to August in the central and northeastern United States and adjacent Canada [7,16].


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Since sheathed sedge reproduces vegetatively [7,9], it probably sprouts from rhizomes after aerial portions are burned. Sheathed sedge is long-rhizomed, and has a rather diffuse growth form [7]. However, where thicker tufts form, they may protect basal buds from fire damage. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Tussock graminoid


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Sheathed sedge culms are probably top-killed by fire during the growing season. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Vegetation regrowth after fire is very fast in low arctic tundra sedge (Carex spp.)-dominated communities [23]. Sedges increase in importance following fire in these habitats [22]. Sheathed sedge in northern Ontario was sparse at the beginning of succession after fire. Its numbers continued to rise for 10 years. It then disappeared over about a 2-year period as black spruce and jack pine (Pinus banksiana) began to regenerate [17]. Sheathed sedge occurs in the central Saskatchewan boreal forest, which has had a history of frequent fire. Sheathed sedge in previously burned sites in this region occurred at a frequency of 31 percent in balsam poplar stands. Balsam poplar is considered a pioneer species. Sheathed sedge occurred at a frequency of 1 to 9 percent in later successional stands, dominated by jack pine and black spruce, and did not occur at all in climax vegetation [5]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Carex vaginata
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