As efficiently and as completely as any blossom of the springtime, the inconspicuous flowers of spring sedge open in the sunshine of early April. The sedge is not often noticed; frequently it is passed by as "grass". It has no petals, no beautiful flower as flowers are rated as beautiful, yet the blossoming of the spring sedge marks the beginning of a seasonal era as definite as the change which came between glacial times and the interglacial periods. The coming of spring sedge, often before other flowers bloom, is a sign that winter officially is over and spring now may make its scheduled appearance.
Carex pennsylvanica Lam.
Early spring Woods.
Spring in Illinois is never a settled thing, never a time in which one may put big finger upon a day and say, "Now spring begins." But when the spring sedge blooms in the sandy woods, then at least the blossoming time is inaugurated, and this sets off the period from winter, when bloom is not the accepted thing.
Carex pennsylvanica grows three to eight inches high in a tufted clump of rather stiff, grass-like leaves all springing from the ruddy base. The flowering stalks come up thin and leafless and produce upon their tips a cluster of bright, pale yellow stamens with ruddy scales below, or less ornamental pistillate stalks winch make seeds. That is all. This is the beginning of spring. The. sedge is in bloom.
Spring sedge is a member of a very extensive family, the Cyperaceae, more than a thousand species of which have been named in the world. Most of them are marsh-growing, wet-soil plants, but many are found in moist woodlands and not a few tolerate dry open woods, among which is the woods-growing spring sedge. It grows in dryish woodlands and on violet banks when spring is on the land.