Warty Sedge, Carex verrucosa

Warty Sedge, Carex verrucosa
Warty Sedge, Carex verrucosa. Ralph E. Simmons State Forest, Nassau County. Photo CC BY-NC ericpo1

Don't be turned off by the ugly name, Warty Sedge (Carex verrucosa) is a chunky sedge that defies the stereotypes that sedges are all small, green, boring, and indistinguishable. It has seriously spiky inflorescences and seedheads that are striking in the field. It doesn't have any other common names that I'm aware of, so that makes things easy.

Warty Sedge, Carex verrucosa. Watson Island State Forest, St. Johns County. Photo CC BY-NC ericpo1
Flowering Warty Sedge, Carex verrucosa, Avon Park Air Force Range, Polk County, FL. Photo CC BY-NC Edwin Bridges

C. glaucescens was described in 1817 by botanist Gotthilf Muhlenberg, for whom the genus Muhlenbergia is named (the very common landscape grass Hairawn Muhly, M. capillaris, is a member of that genus)2,3.  It is vouchered for 45 out of the 67 counties in Florida. It can be found throughout Florida, from the Green Swamp (map) to the Chuluota Wilderness Area (map) and scattered throughout the panhandle3. It's also a fairly impressive full-sized plant, as you can see.

Warty Sedge, Carex verrucosa, in a hydric flatwoods in Okaloosa County. Photo CC BY-NC D. Tilson

Warty Sedge is within the Glaucescentes section of the Carex genus4, which means that it is closely related to other chunky-fruited Florida sedges: Cypress Swamp Sedge (C. joorii) and Clustered Sedge (C. glaucescens). We profiled Clustered Sedge last week for Sedge Sunday.

Clustered Sedge is listed as threatened in Mississipi, North Carolina, and Texas5. This sedge was mentioned in a Palmetto article from 2013 by Linda Curtis6.

Go out and photograph some sedges!


[1] Elliott. 1824. Sketch Bot. S. Carolina. Vol. 2 p553. link
[2] USDA. 2019. Carex verrucosa Muhl. warty sedge. PLANTS Database. link
[3] Muhlenberg, Gotthilf. 1817. Descriptio uberior graminum et plantarum calamariarum Americae septentrionalis indigenarum et cicurum. Philadelphiae, Conrad p.261 link 
[4] Simpson, et al. 2007. Phylogeny of Cyperaceae Based on DNA Sequence Data - a New rbcL Analysis. Alisco 23, p. 72-83. link
[5] NatureServe. 2019. Carex verrucosaMuhl. Warty Sedge link
[6] Curtis, Linda. 2013. Carex - Where are they? The Palmetto 30:4 p. 12-14. Florida Native Plant Society. link

Further reading

Southeastern Flora. 2019. Carex verrucosa. link Waxy Sedge (Carex verrucosa). iNaturalist link
Kew Botanical Gardens. Carex verricosa. Plants of the World Online. link
Matson, Chris. 2009. Graminoids (Families Poaceae, Juncaceae and Cyperaceae). The Univeristy of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. link

by Valerie Anderson, staff | email


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