Fox Sedge, Brown Fox Sedge
Synonyms of Carex vulpinoidea (17) (Updated on 5-4-21 from Plants of the World Online): Carex bracteosa Schwein., Carex microsperma Wahlenb., Carex moniezii Lagrange, Carex muhlenbergii Kunth ex Boott, Carex multiflora Muhl. ex Willd., Carex scabrior Sartwell ex Boott, Carex setacea Dewey, Carex vulpiniformis Tuck., Carex vulpinoidea var. glomerata Barratt, Carex vulpinoidea var. microsperma (Wahlenb.) Dewey, Carex vulpinoidea var. pycnocephala F.J.Herm., Carex vulpinoidea f. segregata (Farw.) Raymond, Carex vulpinoidea var. segregata Farw., Carex vulpinoidea var. setacea (Dewey) Kük., Vignea multiflora (Muhl. ex Willd.) Rchb., Vignea setacea (Dewey) Raf., Vignea vulpinoidea (Michx.) Soják
Carex vulpinoidea Michx. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Carex. It was named and described as such by André Michaux in Flora Boreali-Americana in 1803.
The genus, Carex L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 1,997 species in the Carex genus (as of 5-4-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Cyperaceae with 92 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The above distribution map for Carex vulpinoidea is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States ad Canada is similar and also includes Nevada. The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER PLANT ID.
I found a few colonies of Carex vulpinoidea while wildflower hunting on my farm on June 14 in 2020. Carex species are quite common, Missouri Plants listing 25 species and Plants of the World Online listing nearly 2,000 worldwide. I have identified other members of the plant family Cyperaceae on my farm and they all have similar characteristics. Interestingly, Missouri Plants dos not list this species on their site…
All Carex species are perennial and grow from rhizomes, stolons, or short rootstocks. The leaves look like any other ordinary grass at a glance. The flower-bearing stalks, culms, are unbranched and usually grow to around 2’ tall or more. Carex vulpinoidea grows up to 3 1/2′ in height…
I can write descriptions about wildflowers with no problem, but when it comes to grasses (and grass-like species), it is a different story. I can understand the descriptions but I can’t explain them in layman’s terms in a way that I can even understand. It is best you go to the links below and read the descriptions. I really like the descriptions on Illinois Wildflowers. Friends of the Wildflower Garden is very good, too.
I noticed a lot of the stems of the Carex vulpinoidea were laying down somewhat. Likely because the heads get heavy and easily blow over in the wind.
Sedges grow in a variety of habitats but seem to prefer moist to wet soil in full to part shade. Several species of caterpillars and grasshoppers feed on their leaves and the seeds are eaten by a number of birds. Cattle may eat the leaves, but it is not favored by deer or rabbits.
Grasses in general haven’t been my “thing” because they can be quite complicated even though one might think they are simple. Sedges are not exactly grasses. They are “grass-like”. 🙂 Until they flower, to me they are grass… I have a lot of grass…
I will likely take more detailed photos of this species and other Sedges on my farm in 2021. I can write better descriptions if I have more detailed close-ups. There are a few I haven’t properly identified…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
USDA PLANT GUIDE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂