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False Hop Sedge (Carex lupuliformis)

Life history

Species overview

False Hop Sedge (Carex lupuliformis), a Wisconsin Endangered plant, is found in floodplain forests and ephemeral woodland ponds. Blooming occurs early June through early October; fruiting occurs late July through early October. The optimal identification period for this species is early August through late September.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Spikelets much longer than broad; perigynia inflated, ascending to spreading with a toothed beak; achene broadly diamond-shaped, scarcely, if at all, longer than wide, angles thickened and prominently knobbed with hard, nipple-like points.
  • Flower characteristics: 2 to 6 proximal female spikes, distal spikes usually crowded, ascending, densely flowered, usually cylindric, much longer than broad; 1 to 2 terminal male spikes.
  • Fruit characteristics: Perigynia ascending to spreading, inflated, strongly veined, sessile, lance-ovoid, shiny, glabrous; beak conical; achenes stipitate, broadly diamond-shaped, scarely if at all longer than wide, concave faces, angles thickened, prominently knobbed with hard, nipplelike points.
  • Leaf characteristics: 4 to 7 leaves, basal sheaths brownish; sheath of distal leaf 3 to 21 cm; ligules rounded to triangular.


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


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Section: Lupulinae
  • Comments: Associated Species: Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Acer rubrum, A. saccharinum, Ulmus americana, Ranunculus flabellaris, Penthorum sedoides, Glyceria grandis, Carex crus-corvi, C. tuckermanii.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for False Hop Sedge (Carex lupuliformis). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Carex lupuliformis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

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 in floodplain forests and ephemeral woodland ponds.
  • Soils: Wet soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with False Hop 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
Ephemeral Pond 3
Floodplain Forest 3

Ecological landscapes

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

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

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 wet areas, including small ponds, within forests where this species has been reported.
  • Avoid direct disturbance to sensitive microsites such as seeps, cliffs, and moss-covered boulders.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • 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.

Management guidance

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

  • 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.
  • Buffer management around unique microhabitats such as ephemeral ponds, seeps, etc.
  • Maintain partial canopy to encourage woodland species; avoid closed-canopy conditions.


False Hop Sedge Photo.

Photo © Robert H. Read.

False Hop Sedge Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, 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
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition