Carex L.

60 species in Aust. (20 endemic); all states and territories except NT

Perennial herbs. Leaves flat. Culms 3-angular or terete. Spikelets unisexual, often in separate spikes. Pseudo-glumes spirally imbricate. Perianth absent. Female flower enclosed in a flask-shaped utricle (see below) with a straight bristle (Fig.46). Stamens usually 3. Style 2- or 3-fid. Nut flattened or trigonous, enclosed in the persistent utricle.The inflorescence of Carex and Uncinia is interpreted thus: The spikelet is reduced to a single flower in both male and female spikelets. Thus, the glumes of many authors, including Bentham, are really the bracts subtending the spikelets, called here ‘pseudoglumes’; the true glumes are absent in the male, and modified to form the utricle in the female. The bristle, a reduced perianth segment according to Bentham, is the sterile upper part of the spikelet rhachilla. Thus, the inflorescence of these two genera is a collection of spikelets arranged in spikes which, in their turn, may be paniculate, spicate, umbellate, or solitary (Fig. 46).