New York Natural Heritage Program
Bent Sedge
Carex styloflexa Buckl.

General Description [-]
A grass like plant, this sedge is a densely tufted perennial. It has leaves that arise from the base of the plant and along reproductive stems (culms). The leaves are narrow, green to yellow-green and flat. It has 3-4 clusters of flowers/fruits (spikes) the lowest on stalks arising from the lower 1/3 of the culm. The flowering stems bear one slender male spike above the two to five, wider, few-flowered female spikes (Bryson and Naczi 2002).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
The species needs to be in immature to mature fruit for proper identification. Ample specimens are also helpful in correct identification.

Similar Species [-]
Carex styloflexa is a member of the section Laxiflorae which has a few other species in New York (C. albursina, C. blanda, C. gracilescens, C. laxiflora, C. leptonervia, C. ormostachya, and C. striatula). Some of these species are at least superficially similar although C. styloflexa is a fairly distinctive member of this group.

Carex gracilescens and C. ormostachya have red/purple lower sheath bases. Carex albursina often has wider leaves ranging from 10-38(-62) mm wide compared to up to 14 mm wide for C. styloflexa. Carex leptonervia has smaller perigynia (2.2-3.2 mm long compared to 3.5-5.5 mm long for C. styloflexa) and less conspicuous and fewer (8-18 compared to (22-)25-32 for C. styloflexa) nerves on the perigynia. Carex blanda has smaller perigynia (2.5-3.8(-4.1) mm long compared to 3.5-5.5 mm long for C. styloflexa) with an abruptly bent short beak (0.2-0.6 mm long) compared to a more gradually curved longer beak (0.9-1.5 mm long). Carex striatula and C. laxiflora have perigynia ascending compared to spreading; lateral spikes 22-62 and 9-33 mm long respectively compared to 6-9(-15) mm long for C. styloflexa; and they have shorter peduncles of proximal lateral spikes 1.4-3.3(-5.3) times as long as the spikes they subtend compared to 4.6-14 times as long as the spikes they subtend for C. styloflexa) (Bryson and Naczi 2002).
Bent Sedge Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Carex styloflexa is in immature to mature fruit from late May through June. The best time to survey for this species is during this time period.
The time of year you would expect to find Bent Sedge fruiting (green shading) in New York.