Carex echinata

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Carex echinata


Leaves subbasal, shorter to longer than the stems, canaliculate-conduplicate, long-attenuate, scabrid on the margins above, 1-3 mm wide, the lower ones reduced to pale to castaneous, bladeless sheaths. Inflorescence ovoid to oblong, head-like or spikelike, 1.5-3.5(-4.5) cm long.


Arfak present, Asia-Tropical: New Guinea present, Australasia, Bandahara present, Eurasia present, Gajolands present, Lake Habbema present, Losir present, Mts Kemiri present, N. America present, N. Sumatra present, New Zealand present
N. America, Eurasia to Australia and New Zealand; in Malesia: N. Sumatra (Gajolands: Mts Kemiri, Losir, Bandahara) and New Guinea (Arfak and Lake Habbema in W., and many mountains in E.).


In the wide sense here accepted C. echinata is a widely spread species. The characters used for differentiating the numerous microspecies described in sect. Stellulatae are far from reliable; they mainly refer to the width of the leaves, the size of the utricles, the scabridity of their margins and the intensity of their nervation. For N. America recognized c. 20 spp. which can hardly be maintained. I have not seen Japanese materials of the section, but to judge from the descriptions and figures C. basilata Ohwi, Act. Phytotax. Geobot. 11 (1942) 258; Yoshikawa, Ic. Jap. Carex 3 (1960) 296, t.148 [C. muricata (non L.) Ohwi, Mem. Coll. Sc. Kyoto Imp. Un. Bl 1 (1936) 253; Akiyama, Car. Far East. Reg. Asia (1955) 64, t. 31] is hardly different from the European plants, and C. omiana Franch. & Sav.; Ohwi, l.c. 254; Akiyama, l.c. t. 32 with its lanceolate utricles less scabrid margins must be very near to the New Guinean specimens.
Carex perileia S. T. Blake was based on a specimen with a single fruiting culm, and distinguished from C. echinata by its narrower leaves and its longer utricles with relatively larger beak deeply split on the back with entirely smooth margins. Several additional collections have shown that size and scabridity of the utricles are very variable. Sometimes the utricles are not longer and hardly less scabrid than in European materials. In typical C. echinata the uppermost spikelet is seemingly long-stalked by the relatively large number of male flowers at its base and sometimes almost wholly male, in the New Guinean specimens also this spikelet is sessile as there are so few male flowers that it has a wholly female appearance. This may be the same in some Australian forms of C. echinata, as according to Bentham, l.c., there are very few 3 flowers at the base of the spikelets, sometimes even none.
Whether C. perileia represents a special New Guinea race cannot be decided without a critical study of the whole section or of at least the Australasian and E. Asian representatives; in my opinion it is not specifically distinct.
Carex gajonum Nelmes, from N. Sumatra (Gajolands: Mts Losir and Kemiri), was distinguished because the lower bracts are foliaceous, much overtopping the inflorescence, and the utricles being broader, cordate at the base, and obliquely erect instead of widely patent when mature. In some Sumatran plants, however, the lower bracts are setaceous, in some New Guinean ones they are foliaceous, overtopping the inflorescence. In the collection de Wilde 13323, from Mt Bandahara, the ripe utricles are patent as in true C. echinata, making the spikelets squarrose. Furthermore I compared several utricles, and although they are generally broader in Sumatra, there is no constant difference. — (Noot.).


Nelmes 1954 – In: Reinwardtia: 382
S. T. Blake 1951 – In: Reinwardtia: 441
Nelmes 1949: Kew Bull.: 386, 392
Kuk. 1909 – In: Pfl. R. Heft: 228
Benth. 1878 – In: Fl. Austr.: 439
Boeck. 1875 – In: Linnaea: 124