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    Sedge And Rushes Quiz

    Following on from the Gigantic Grass quiz here's your chance to turn your skills to the wonderful world of sedges, rushes and their allies. Even when you know a plant, can you identify it from just one fragment? All information from the newly released Field Guide to Grasses, Sedges and Rushes, available from The Species Recovery Trust with all proceeds to saving rare species.

    1. This is a small sedge that lives in acid mires. But what is it called?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex demissa - Common Yellow Sedge

      These have had a bit of a taxonomic ride recently, but seem to have settled down. All of them have inflorescences resembling spikey pineapples. This one is rather smaller and grows in acidic bog flushes.

    2. A common site on calcareous grassland

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex flacca - Glaucous Sedge

      Has glaucous (grey/blue) underside to leaves. Fruits very black towards end of summer.

    3. A large sedge with a strikingly triangular stem...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex otrubae - False Fox-sedge

    4. Back to the bog!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex echinata - Star Sedge

      Has a superficial resemblance to the last one, but fruits smaller and definitely a bit star shaped!

    5. Just one more boggy one...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge

      Chocolate and lime swollen fruits - yum

    6. I lied about they're only being one more which lives in bogs...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex pulicaris - Flea Sedge

      They sort of look like fleas hanging on?

    7. A striking site in heathlands in early summer...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge

      Probably the commonest Sedge of heathlands, particularly lowland.

    8. Many flattened fruits, the colour sort of gives it away...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex nigra - Common Sedge

      You can confirm it by the leaves, which are long and subtly paler on their top surfaces

    9. Now some Sedge allies (loose members of the sedge family)

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eriophorum angustifolium - Common Cottongrass

      Several cottony heads, one of which is on a longer stem

    10. A funny little sedge ally

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush

      Long bract above inflorescence (short bract would be cernua)

    11. The Don King of grasses...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass

      Bunny tails!!!

    12. Another spikey bog-dweller...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eleocharis - Spikerush

    13. Fancy taking it to species level?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eleocharis quinqueflora - Few-flowered Spike-rush

      Not easy! You may have spotted that it was growing in an acidic bog, which helps narrow it down. It also grows in loose tufts, but these can be hard to see when there's lots of plants. Beyond that you have to look at the glumes, which is pretty hard from a photo!

    14. Ok, on to Rushes. Flowers only to start with. This one has a habit of turning viviparous towards the end of the year.

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush

    15. Couple of clues here..

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush

      Lovely compact fruit right through the year, and the stem is ridged, but only below the flower.

    16. Bit of a stunner!

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush

      The grasses originally evolved from monocot plants similar to Lilies, and flowers like these strikingly show that evolutionary link. Although they are wind-pollinated the flowers are almost showy enough to attract insects.

    17. Again, a couple of clues here...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush

      Grey ridged thin leaves, and a spray of flowers falling out

    18. And onto the wider members of the Rush family...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush

      Very hairy, smallish, very common in good quality grassland

    19. In a wood...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush

      Southern Wood-rush is similar but the inflorescence typically droops to one side

    20. On a heath....

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Luzula multiflora ssp congesta - Dense-headed Heath Wood-rush

      Rolls off the tongue... Here it is next to normal Heath Wood-rush showing ho compact the head is.

    21. Ok, now some 'whole plant' shots. Sedges first...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex remota - Remote Sedge

      Beautifully fine leaves in tussocks, and you can just about see the spaced out flowers

    22. I'm not going to give you the habitat for this one, but there's two very good indicator species in the shot

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex caryophyllea - Spring-sedge

      You may have spotted the Salad Burnet, showing it is chalk/calcareous. It is the most commonly found yellow coloured Sedge is this environment, and can be further confirmed by the club-shaped male inflorescence.

    23. Quite a distinctive colour on this one...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge

      Wonder how many of you fell for calling in Glaucous Sedge? Carnation is equally glaucous (a blue grey shade of green) on both sides, so appears extremely glaucous from the top. Glaucous Sedge is mainly glaucous on the underleaf.... (still following that?)

    24. No clues here....

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex pendula - Pendulous Sedge

      The largest of the native sedges, and the most annoying if it's in your garden!

    25. Bit harder, try and work out the habitat first

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex pilulifera - Pill Sedge

      The keen eyed among you may have spotted the Tormentil and Matgrass, confirming this as acid grassland. Once you're there, it is really the only commonly found light green coloured sedge, but is further confirmed by the stems lying prostrate, looking like they've rather given up the will to stay upright. If you then rub your fingers up the stem you'll find the top section just below the fruit is rough. And that's magic...

    26. Up on the moors....

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge

      Lovely rich dark green colour, w-shaped cross section to leaves

    27. Ok, some sedge allies now....

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eriophorum vaginatum- Hare's-tail Cottongrass

      Ain't she pretty!

    28. In a bog, near a log...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush

      Needly leaves with a long terminal bract (cernua would be much shorter)

    29. Back into the dry (-er) for this nice clumpy one

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass

      Clumps go very yellow towards end of summer, stems are ridged with white grooves.

    30. Some Rushes..... This one does a very good impression of a grass though.

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush

      Red tinged swollen stem bases

    31. A bit harder - the habitat might help?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush

      Quite easy to muddle up with Soft Rush. The heads are more compact, and is the top photo is seen growing in damp heath, where you'd be unlikely to find Soft Rush, unless the landowner had been up to something naughty...

    32. Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush

      An incredibly highly evolved Rush. You can see in this pic how some of the upright leaves have been grazed off, but the prostrate ones are unaffected, allowing it to thrive in grazed environments. It also has specialised grooved leaves, allowing it to survive in much dryer soils than many other rushes.

    33. Easy-peasy (well, hopefully)

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush

      Greyish, thin stems

    34. And some Luzulas (Luzulae?) to round off the whole plants section

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush

      Bit hard from a photo, but the smallish size and big red knobs on the end of the leaves point to campestris (tee-hee)

    35. In a damp Dartmoor wood...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush

    36. Ok, now you're warmed up it's time to do it off just a bit of a plant. And they're all muddled up from here on...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush

      Interrupted pith - textbook Hard rush

    37. The definitive trigonous tip. Found in bogs.

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Eriophorum angustifolium - Common Cottongrass

      The top third of the leaf has this unusual structure called a trigonous tip, where it forms a solid triangular cross-section

    38. A sedge. But which one?

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Carex hirta - Hairy Sedge

      This in theory is one of the easiest sedges to identify - it has hairy leaves, stems and fruits, and is called Hairy. Except sometimes it doesn't have any hairs. How helpful is that? This version tends to pop up in very wet meadows. Maybe one day it will be declared a sub-species; Carex hirta ssp. baldense

    39. A pillar of pith (sounds like an early Genesis album)

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Juncus effusus - Soft-rush

      Continuous pith. You can actually run your thumb up and remove it all, but that's actually taking the pith...I'm here all week

    40. Ooo, tough one...

      Correct! 
      Wrong! 

      Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass

      Yes indeedy. Deergrass stems are not only ridged but the grooves of the ridges are white, giving it a slightly stripy look. (Not that you can particularly see that from this photo). The inflorescence is rather more enclosed by its glumes than the Eleocharis's are.

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