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Title: Common wetland delineation sedges of the Northeast
Authors: Lichvar, Robert.
Keywords: Carex
Northeastern states
Issue Date: Jun-2005
Publisher: Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC/CRREL ; TN-05-4
Abstract: This field guide is intended to assist in identifying 16 of the most common Carex (sedge) species observed during wetland delineations. An additional 26 species that are similar in appearance to these common sedges are included and distinguished. This guide to common sedges is designed to take to the field and key sedges with a 10× hand lens. Over years of teaching sedges for wetland delineation purposes, I have used a variety of approaches. Most commonly we “overloaded” the students with botanical keys with extreme terminology to teach students that they could key a Carex if they had to! But, in the end, I felt that they didn’t learn the common sedges well enough to identify them on a daily basis. So for several years I’ve been compiling matrices and looking for those patterns that field botanists impress us with when they so capably place a sedge into a group, which greatly simplifies identification. Meanwhile, Dave Murray (Univ. of Alaska) made those observations and developed a set of keys for the sedges of Alaska (Tande and Lipkin 2003). In those keys Murray captured that field aspect that I was trying to develop but couldn’t quite see. The following “group keys” to sedges follow Murray’s leads, with minor modifications, to place sedges into five major visual groups. Unlike traditional sedge keys, the number of stigmas and the perigynia shape are avoided until later in the individual keys, if they are needed at all. I attempted to use characters that can be seen in the field and that also sort other related “lookalike” species into the same key couplet. Other look-alike species are then distinguished on the description page of the common species keyed. The other similar species are supported by illustrations for comparison purposes. My goal here is to present the major groups of sedges, as distinguished by growth form, by using field-oriented keys for learning the common sedges. Once a new student of Carex is comfortable with the groups in the field, they can then move on and identify other sedges they may encounter later using more technical manuals.
Description: Technical Note
Gov't Doc #: ERDC/CRREL TN-05-4
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