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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.

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

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex spicata - Spiked Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex demissa - Common Yellow Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex echinata - Star Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex hostiana - Tawny Sedge
    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.

    Carex demissa - Common Yellow Sedge
  2. A common site on calcareous grassland

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex nigra - Common Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex flacca - Glaucous Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex elata - Tufted-sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex flacca - Glaucous Sedge

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

    Carex flacca - Glaucous Sedge
  3. A large sedge with a strikingly triangular stem...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex vulpina - True Fox-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex divisa - Divided Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex hirta - Hairy Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex otrubae - False Fox-sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex otrubae - False Fox-sedge

  4. Back to the bog!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex echinata - Star Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pulicaris - Flea Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex muricata - Prickly Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex extensa - Long-bracted Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex echinata - Star Sedge

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

    Carex echinata - Star Sedge
  5. Just one more boggy one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex vaginata - Sheathed Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex punctata - Dotted Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex hostiana - Tawny Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge

    Chocolate and lime swollen fruits - yum

    Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge
  6. I lied about they're only being one more which lives in bogs...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pauciflora - Few-flowered Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pulicaris - Flea Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex dioica - Dioecious Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex capillaris - Hair Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex pulicaris - Flea Sedge

    They sort of look like fleas hanging on?

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

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pendula - Pendulous Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex flacca - Glaucous Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex rostrata - Bottle Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge

    Probably the commonest Sedge of heathlands, particularly lowland.

    Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge
  8. Many flattened fruits, the colour sort of gives it away...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pilulifera - Pill Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex limosa - Bog-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex nigra - Common Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex spicata - Spiked Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex nigra - Common Sedge

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

    Carex nigra - Common Sedge
  9. Now some Sedge allies (loose members of the sedge family)

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum angustifolium - Common Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Rhynchospora alba - White Beak-sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Eriophorum angustifolium - Common Cottongrass

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

  10. A funny little sedge ally

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isolepis cernua - Slender Club-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isoetes echinospora - Spring Quillwort
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush

    Long bract above inflorescence (short bract would be cernua)

    Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush
  11. The Don King of grasses...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum angustifolium - Common Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum gracile - Slender Cottongrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass

    Bunny tails!!!

    Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass
  12. Another spikey bog-dweller...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis - Spike-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleogiton - Club-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Trichophorum - Deergrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isolepis - Clubrush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Eleocharis - Spikerush

  13. Fancy taking it to species level?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis acicularis - Needle Spike-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis palustris - Common Spike-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis uniglumis - Slender Spike-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis quinqueflora - Few-flowered Spike-rush
    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!

    Eleocharis quinqueflora - Few-flowered Spike-rush
  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
    Incorrect
    Juncus biglumis - Two-flowered Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush

  15. Couple of clues here..

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus compressus - Round-fruited Rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush

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

    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
  16. Bit of a stunner!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus compressus - Round-fruited Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus acutus - Sharp Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus subnodulosus - Blunt-flowered Rush
    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.

    Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush
  17. Again, a couple of clues here...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus balticus - Baltic Rush
    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
    Incorrect
    Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula forsteri - Southern Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush

    Very hairy, smallish, very common in good quality grassland

    Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush
  19. In a wood...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula forsteri - Southern Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush

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

    Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush
  20. On a heath....

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula multiflora - Heath Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula multiflora ssp congesta - Dense-headed Heath Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush
    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.

    Luzula multiflora ssp congesta - Dense-headed Heath Wood-rush
  21. Ok, now some 'whole plant' shots. Sedges first...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex remota - Remote Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex divisa - Divided Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex divulsa - Grey Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex sylvatica - Wood-sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex remota - Remote Sedge

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

    Carex remota - Remote Sedge
  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
    Incorrect
    Carex lasiocarpa - Slender Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex caryophyllea - Spring-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pulicaris - Flea Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pilulifera - Pill Sedge
    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.

    Carex caryophyllea - Spring-sedge
  23. Quite a distinctive colour on this one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex caryophyllea - Spring-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex flacca - Glaucous Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex panicea - Carnation Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex leporina - Oval Sedge
    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
    Incorrect
    Carex sylvatica - Wood-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pendula - Pendulous Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex paniculata - Greater Tussock-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex flava - Large Yellow-sedge
    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
    Incorrect
    Carex caryophyllea - Spring-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex echinata - Star Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex humilis - Dwarf Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pilulifera - Pill Sedge
    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...

    Carex pilulifera - Pill Sedge
  26. Up on the moors....

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pendula - Pendulous Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex pilulifera - Pill Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex leporina - Oval Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge

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

    Carex binervis - Green-ribbed Sedge
  27. Ok, some sedge allies now....

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum angustifolium -Common Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Schoenus nigricans - Black Bog-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Rhynchospora alba- White Beak-sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Eriophorum vaginatum- Hare's-tail Cottongrass

    Ain't she pretty!

    Eriophorum vaginatum- Hare's-tail Cottongrass
  28. In a bog, near a log...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isoetes lacustris - Quillwort
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isolepis cernua - Slender Club-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis uniglumis - Slender Spike-rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush

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

    Isolepis setacea - Bristle Club-rush
  29. Back into the dry (-er) for this nice clumpy one

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Schoenus nigricans - Black Bog-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Rhynchospora alba- White Beak-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Trichophorum germanicum - Deergrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex lachenalii - Hare's-foot Sedge
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass

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

    Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass
  30. Some Rushes..... This one does a very good impression of a grass though.

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus capitatus - Dwarf Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus bufonius - Toad Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush

    Red tinged swollen stem bases

    Juncus bulbosus - Bulbous Rush
  31. A bit harder - the habitat might help?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus compressus - Round-fruited Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
    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...

    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
  32. Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus acutiflorus - Sharp-flowered Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus squarrosus - Heath Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus capitatus - Dwarf Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
    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
    Incorrect
    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus acutiflorus - Sharp-flowered Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus conglomeratus - Compact Rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush

    Greyish, thin stems

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

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula forsteri - Southern Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula multiflora - Heath Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula campestris - Field Wood-rush
    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
    Incorrect
    Luzula pilosa - Hairy Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula forsteri - Southern Wood-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Luzula multiflora - Heath Wood-rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Luzula sylvatica - Great Wood-rush

    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
    Incorrect
    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus articulatus - Jointed Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus acutus - Sharp Rush
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush

    Interrupted pith - textbook Hard rush

    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
  37. The definitive trigonous tip. Found in bogs.

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex rariflora - Mountain Bog-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum vaginatum - Hare's-tail Cottongrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex lasiocarpa - Slender Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eriophorum angustifolium - Common Cottongrass
    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
    Incorrect
    Carex dioica - Dioecious Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex filiformis - Downy-fruited Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex paniculata - Greater Tussock-sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex hirta - Hairy Sedge
    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
    Incorrect
    Juncus articulatus - Jointed Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus inflexus - Hard Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Juncus bufonius - Toad Rush
    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

    Juncus effusus - Soft-rush
  40. Ooo, tough one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis uniglumis - Slender Spike-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carex spicata - Spiked Sedge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eleocharis multicaulis - Many-stalked Spike-rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Trichophorum germanicum - Deergrass
    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.

    Trichophorum cespitosum - Deergrass
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