CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Carex barrattii

Photographer:
Copyright Larry E. Morse

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Carex barrattii


Family: 
Cyperaceae  
Common Name: 
Barratt's sedge
Author: 
Schwein. & Torr.
Growth Habit: 
Graminoid
CPC Number: 
764

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Carex barrattiienlarge
Photographer: Copyright Larry E. Morse
larry.morse.dc[at]earthlink.net

Carex barrattiienlarge
Photographer: Copyright Larry E. Morse
larry.morse.dc[at]earthlink.net


Carex barrattii is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

 
Carex barrattii


Barratt’s sedge is uncommon throughout most of it’s range. It is not federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, but is ranked as threatened or endangered in a number of states in which it is found.

One state where this species is doing well is New Jersey. In 1978 and 1979, Congress and the State of New Jersey established the Pinelands National Reserve and the Pinelands Commission. The Pinelands National Reserve occupies 22% of New Jersey's land area, with 1.1 million acres of a mix of public and private land. Today, with the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan, which is overseen by the Pinelands Commission, the region is protected and managed to maintain its unique ecology while permitting compatible development. The protection of the Pine Barrens has saved many of the populations in New Jersey, while other states continue to lose large proportions of their populations to development.

Research & Management Summary:
Very little research or management has been performed specifically for this species.

Species Description:
This species produces narrow (2 to 4 mm wide) pale bluish-green leaves that grow from tufts and are 1 to 3 feet (3 to 9 dm) tall. Its flowers, which are rarely produced, are composed of interesting but difficult-to-see darkish purple flower spikes. This species can be distinguished from a similar and closely related species Carex limosa using a few characteristics. C. limosa is smaller than C. barrattii, and its flowers have scales that completely conceal the perigynia, while the scales of C. barrattii do not quite cover the peringynia. In addition, C. limosa reproduces vegetatively by stolons (aboveground) while C. barrattii reproduces vegetatively by underground rhizomes. (Sharp 2001)

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Alabama
Connecticut
Delaware
Maryland
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Virginia
State Range of  Carex barrattii
Habitat
  Prime conditions for this species are wetland areas with open sun and acidic soils (pH less than 5) along the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. Populations have historically been found in coastal pine or oak barrens, bogs, and swamps, but remaining populations are found primarily in pine barrens. (Sharp 2001, Denemore 1987)

This species was discovered in South Carolina in 1993 in a “rather remarkable plant community that appears relictual from much colder times in the region” (Hill and Horn 1997).

Woody associates include Acer rubrum, Aronioa melanocarpa, Chamaedaphne calyculata, Clethra alnifolia, Sphagnum sp., Spirea tomentosa and Vaccinium coymbosum. Herbaceous associates include Carex stricta, Carex vesicaria, and Scirpus cyperinus. (Sharp 2001)

Distribution
  Currently most populations are located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens with additional sites in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. (NatureServe 2001; Sharp 2001; Hill and Horn 1997)

Number Left
  • There are a total of 72 sites thought to remain with 60 of these in New Jersey and five or less in any other state. Historically over 94 sites were known to exist with NJ and NY losing the largest numbers of sites but with many other states losing over 50% of their sites due to the very small numbers that have ever been found in those areas. (Denemore 1987)
• Two populations (some consider them sub-populations as they occur in close proximity) are currently known in Connecticut, with population size between them exceeding 10,000 ramets. These populations occur on private property, and are therefore not legally protected. There were historically 7 populations in the state. (Sharp 2001)
• The species was recently discovered in South Carolina--its status there is unknown. (Hill and Horn 1997).

Protection

Global Rank:  
G4
 
6/18/2000
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
RT
 
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Alabama S1 8/28/1991  
  Connecticut S1 E 1/1/2002  
  Delaware S3 1/16/1992  
  Maryland S1 E 12/18/1991  
  New Jersey S3 6/1/1990  
  New York S1 E 2/17/1989  
  North Carolina SH E 8/17/1990  
  Pennsylvania SX PX 5/2/1990  
  Tennessee S1 E 1/13/1989  
  Virginia S1S2 E 4/15/1991  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  • This species is dependent upon disturbances, such as fire and clearing. C. barrattii reaches its greatest abundance in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a habitat that is strongly fire-dependent. (Sharp 2001).
• The flowers of Carex barrattii, are unisexual and lack a perianth, as do the flowers of all species of Carex. (Sharp 2001).
• Flowers of plants in the genus Carex are wind-pollinated (anemophilous) (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).
• Reproduction is often clonal.
• While specific observations have not been published, it is likely that seed is dispersed by tree sparrows, swamp sparrows, grouse, or seed-eating songbirds. (Sharp 2001).

Threats
  • Development and accompanying hydrologic changes including but not limited to the filling of wetlands
• Closure of the tree canopy, as this species is shade-intolerant.

Current Research Summary
  In the late 1980's the New York Botanic Garden began to cultivate this species, but there has been little other study, which is not unusual for sedges as a whole.

Current Management Summary
  None known.

Research Management Needs
  Research Needs:
• Studies of species reproduction
• Further study detailing the species response to fire
• Assess required hydrologic regimes necessary

Management Needs:
• Possibly enhance existing populations that are small
• Searches for unknown populations where the habitat appears suitable

Ex Situ Needs
  • Additional methods of propagation need to be tested
• Continue seed banking for research purposes as well as to preserve genetic diversity of the species should one or many populations be eliminated from the wild.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company. 1632p.

Gleason, H.A.; Cronquist, A. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Bronx: The New York Botanical Garden.

Mackenzie, K.K. 1940. North American Cariaceae. New York, NY: New York Botanical Garden.

Radford, A.E.; Ahles, H.E.; Bell, C.R. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 1183p.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Electronic Sources

NatureServe. (2008). NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. [Internet].Version 7.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. Accessed: (June 17, 2008).

Journal Articles

Fleming, G.P.; Van Alstine, N.E. 1999. Plant communities and floristic features of sinkhole ponds and seepage wetlands in southeastern Augusta County, Virginia. Banisteria: Virginia Natural History Society. 13

Hill, S.R.; Horn, C.N. 1997. Additions to the flora of South Carolina. Castanea. 62, 194-208

McMahan, L.R. 1988. CPC 1987--A Successful Collecting Year. The Center for Plant Conservation. 3, 2: Cover.

Reports

Denemore, M. 1987. Carex barrattii Up-date. Worcester Garden Club. p.7. written report w/ annotated bibliography.

Sharp, Penelope C. 2001. Carex barrattii Schwein. & Torr. (Barratt's Sedge) Conservation and Research Plan. Framingham, Massachusetts, USA: New England Wild Flower Society.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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