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Greenish-white Sedge (Carex longii)

Life history

Species overview

Greenish-white Sedge (Carex longii), a plant, is found on sandy lakeshore in jack pine barrens, as well as sphagnum meadows; its habitat requirements are uncertain. Blooming occurs throughout June; fruiting occurs early July through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late August.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Densely cespitose; leaf sheaths with green veins nearly to the collar, perigynia strongly flattened, appressed-ascending, up to 2.6 mm at widest part (usually above the middle), the margins curved to the base, orbicular to obovate in overall shape; pistillate scales acute, the tips blunt, shorter than perigynia.
  • Flower characteristics: Spikes 3 to 10, distinct, ellipsoid to ovoid, base rounded or obtuse, apex obtuse to broadly acute; male portion 2 mm or less.
  • Fruit characteristics: Perigynia appressed-ascending, up to 2.6 mm wide at the widest part (usually above the middle), green to drab brown, conspicuously veined on each face, obovate, flat except over achene, margin flat; beak green to brown at tip, flat, the margins curved to the base, orbicular to obovate in overall shape, ciliate-serrulate, abaxial suture with conspicuous white hyaline margin; achenes oblong.
  • Leaf characteristics: Sheaths adaxially conspicuously green-veined nearly to collar, with a narrow hyaline band or sharp Y-shaped hyaline region at collar; adaxially firm, summits U-shaped, finely papillose; 2 to 4 blades per fertile culm.


  • Blooming phenology: throughout June
  • Fruiting phenology: early July through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late August


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Section: Ovales
  • Comments: Associated Species: Pinus banksiana, Quercus ellipsoidalis.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

Greenish-white Sedge (Carex longii) is on the "watch list." Watch list species have experienced, or are believed to have experienced, a statewide or range wide decline, but they are not currently tracked in the Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) database. The watch list includes newly discovered species for which origin and rarity need to be determined, certain animals designated as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan, and species that were tracked in the past but proved more abundant, widespread or less vulnerable than previously thought. Although watch list species are not actively tracked by NHI, occurrences documented during surveys are often stored by NHI, as these species could be tracked in the future if there is further evidence of their decline.

Summary Information
State Statusnone
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankSH
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIW

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on sandy lakeshore in jack pine barrens, as well as sphagnum meadows; its habitat requirements are uncertain.
  • Soils: Wet, possibly sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Greenish-white Sedge. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Greenish-white Sedge. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.
  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Survey for and control invasive plants prior to conducting timber operations, as these can be spread by vehicles and often respond vigorously to increased light; see forestry BMPs for invasive species.


Greenish-white Sedge Photo.

Photo © Forest and Kim Starr,

Greenish-white Sedge Photo.

Photo © Charles T. Bryson,

Greenish-white Sedge Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
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