Sunday, June 28, 2009

Carex Retrorsa, Reflexed Bladder Sedge

We botanists love sedges. With over 160 Ohio species in the genus Carex alone, this group alone can provide a lifetime of wonderment. On Friday June 26th, at Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve, Ryan Schroeder and I happened across a nice wet sedgy spot that was home to a really rare sedge in Ohio (state endangered), Carex retrorsa, or the reflexed bladder sedge. How did it get that name, you ask? Well, the word retrorse, when used in the botanical vernacular, means bent or curved backward or downward.

See anything retrose about this sedge? The perigynia, which are actually the sedge's female flowers, are the large spiky things. The balloon shaped sack is where the seed of the sedge develops, called an achene. In Carex retrorsa, the perigynia are pointed out and even downward. Reflexed = retrorse. Reflexed bladder sedge. It all makes sense, doesn't it?

The most interesting thing about this find is that Carex retrorsa had been found in Lucas County before 2009- but over 100 years ago. That was until Wednesday, when Oak Openings botanical guru Tim Walters found it somewhere in the area, and showed it to my boss. Said boss just happened to mention Tim's find to me on Thursday. Then, Ryan and I just happened to find Carex retrorsa at Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve. Quite a story, isn't it? Not documented for over 100 years (in the oak openings), then, twice in three days.


The next post I'm working on is video and photographs of the gypsy moth infestation at Highbanks Metropark.


  1.! Wonderful! That is a major must have been really excited!!

  2. Congratulations on your find, Tom! That's quite an accomplishment! Maybe someone will even find more!

  3. I relate to how excited you must be, finding such a rare plant. And one that most folks (probably including sedge-ignorant me) would just ignore, passing it off as just another of those "sedgy" things.
    Congratulations are indeed due!