Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Rare plant monitoring annual report

Catch up with the latest news in rare plant monitoring efforts throughout Wisconsin.

Eagle license plate

Help care for rare plants and animals by ordering an Endangered Resources plate.

Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle

Beautiful Sedge (Carex concinna)

Life history

Species overview

Beautiful Sedge (Carex concinna), a Wisconsin Threatened plant, is found in brushy white cedar thickets and swampy swales along Great Lakes. Blooming occurs late May through late June; fruiting occurs early June through early July. The optimal identification period for this species is throughout June.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Cespitose; differs from C. deflexa and C. rossii in its strong sheathing, short-bladed bracts, perigynia pubescent with coarse, wrinkled hairs, and apex of pistillate scales minutely ciliate.
  • Flower characteristics: 2 to 3 female spikes 4 to 8 mm long, sessile or short-peduncled, emerging from cauline nodes, aggregated, ascending, ovoid to ellipsoid; male spikes terminal, 4 to 6 mm long.
  • Fruit characteristics: Perigynia ellipsoid, pubescent with coarse, wrinkled white hairs; achenes ellipsoid.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal sheaths not fibrous, reddish brown; blades mostly basal, pale green, shorter than culms, thin.


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


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Section: Clandestinae
  • Comments: Associated Species: Thuja occidentalis, Carex capillaris, C. castanea, Primula mistassinica, Juniperus communis, Alnus crispa, Ledum groenlandicum, Abies balsamea, Picea glauca.

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 Beautiful Sedge (Carex concinna). 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 concinna in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
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 brushy white cedar thickets and swampy swales along Great Lakes.
  • Soils: Moist to dry, gravelly or sandy, calcareous soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Beautiful 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
Great Lakes Ridge and Swale 2
Boreal Forest 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Beautiful 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 site preparation that heavily disturbs herbaceous ground layer and soil; these include bulldozing and furrowing, as well as grubbing and stump removal.
  • Avoid direct disturbance to sensitive microsites such as seeps, cliffs, and moss-covered boulders.
  • 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

  • Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.
  • Buffer management around unique microhabitats such as ephemeral ponds, seeps, etc.
  • Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.


Beautiful Sedge Photo.

Photo © Emmet Judziewicz.

Beautiful Sedge Photo.

Photo ©  USDA-NRCS.

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