Carex plantaginea Lam.
Plantain-leaf Sedge, Seersucker Sedge
Plantain-leaf sedge is native to New England and nearby Canada in North America. It prefers rich deciduous forests, on wooded slopes and ravines, in calcerous soils. It is often associated with basswood and ferns.
Plants: Grows in dense tufts (cespitose). Culms (stems) reach up or hang sideways. They are hairless and green. Leaves are all basal, emerging from a red-purple sheath. Since the leaves are evergreen, plants often appear beat-up in the spring.
Leaves: Leaves are evergreen, hairless, with a set of three parallel ribs, 6-17" (14-42 cm) × ¼-1¼" (8-32 mm). Viewed in cross section, the leaves have a zig-zagged shape. They often have a rippled appearance, hence the common name “seersucker.” Leaves on the culms are smaller, reddish purple, and tubular.
Flowers: Each culm contains 2-4 pistillate (female) spikes and is topped by a single staminate (male) spike. The female spikes are ½-1½" (1.3-3.8 cm) long, and roughly cylindrical. The male spike is reddish-purple, and up to ¾" (1.9 cm) long. Blooming begins in mid-spring.
Fruits: Achenes are about ¹/₁₆" (2.5 mm) long, ovoid, and 3-angled.
Carex plantaginea at Illinois Wildflowers
Carex plantaginea at Minnesota Wildflowers
Carex plantaginea on michiganflora.net
Carex plantaginea on plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Carex plantaginea on eFloras
Arsenault, Matt; Mittelhauser, Glen H.; Cameron, Don; Dibble, Alison C.; Haines, Arthur; Rooney, Sally C.; and Weber, Jill E., Sedges of Maine: A Field Guide to Cyperaceae, University of Maine Press, 2013, p. 142
Carex plantaginea description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.