This perennial sedge consists of a dense tuft of leafy culms about
1½-2½' tall. Dried remnants of older leaf blades are often persistent
around the base of the tuft of culms. Over time, the tuft of culms
becomes elevated, forming a tussock. The narrow culms are about 1 mm.
across, 3-angled, light green, and glabrous. Underneath an
inflorescence, the margins of a culm are often slightly rough. Each
culm has 3-5 alternate leaves along the lower one-third of its length.
The ascending to spreading leaf blades are 1-3 mm. across and 3-9"
long; they are light to medium green and glabrous with rough-textured
margins. The leaf sheaths are light green and glabrous
along their outer 2 sides, while their inner sides are membranous and
hairless. The summit of each sheath along the inner side is concave.
Each fertile culm produces a narrow inflorescence about ¾-2½" long
consisting of 3-8 erect to ascending spikelets; the inflorescence may
nod slightly. Each spikelet is
usually gynecandrous with 0-3 staminate (male) florets at the bottom
and 6-18 pistillate (female) florets above. Individual spikelets are up
to 15 mm. (2/3") long; except for the lowest spikelet, they usually
overlap each other along the rachis (central stalk) of the
inflorescence. Underneath the lowest spikelet, there is usually a
narrowly linear bract about ¼-1" in length, otherwise the bracts of the
inflorescence are insignificant and scale-like or absent.
of the pistillate florets are 3.5-5.0 mm. in length and 1-1.25 mm.
across; they are narrowly lanceoloid in shape and plano-convex,
tapering gradually to a narrow beak. Their lateral margins are rounded,
rather than narrowly winged, while their bases are somewhat spongy and
thickened. There are several longitudinal veins on both the inner and
outer sides of each perigynium. The exterior surface of each perigynium
is light green and glabrous, although it becomes whitened toward the
base. The pistillate scales are 2.5-4.0 mm. long and lanceolate in
shape with membranous margins. Each female floret consists of an ovary
with a pair of stigmata at its apex. The blooming period occurs from
mid- to late spring. The florets are cross-pollinated by the wind.
During the summer, the spikelets change from light green to light tan.
The achenes and their perigynia can float on water or be blown about by
the wind. Individual achenes are about 2.0 mm. long and 0.75-1.0 mm.
across. The root system is short-rhizomatous and fibrous.
The preference is partial sun to light shade, wet to consistently moist
conditions, and mucky or sandy-mucky soil containing some decaying leaf
litter. Shallow standing water is tolerated.
Brome-Like Sedge is found primarily in NE Illinois and a few scattered
counties elsewhere within the state (see Distribution
uncommon. Habitats include
soggy deciduous woodlands, muddy margins and shallow water of vernal
pools in wooded areas, hardwood swamps, typical seeps and gravelly
seeps in wooded areas, bogs, edges of marshes, and sedge meadows.
Sometimes these habitats are sandy. This
sedge is found in higher quality natural areas.
The caterpillars of the butterfly, Satyrodes eurydice
(Eyed Brown), and the caterpillars of several skippers feed on wetland
(Black Dash), Euphyes dion
(Dion Skipper), Poanes
(Mulberry Wing), and Poanes viator
(Broad-Winged Skipper). Moth caterpillars that feed on sedges include
(Ignorant Apamea), Chortodes
(Virginia Ctenucha), Macrochilo absorptalis
(Slant-Lined Owlet), Meropleon
(Multicolored Sedge Miner),
(Pondside Pyralid Moth), and Simyra
(Henry's Marsh Moth). Other insect feeders include many aphids (see
several leafhoppers (mostly Cosmotettix
bugs Mimoceps insignis
and Teratocoris paludum
the seed bugs Cymus
semi-aquatic leaf beetles (mostly Plateumaris
); stem-boring larvae
of Chlorops certima
(Chloropid Fly sp.), Cordilura
(Scathophagid Fly sp.), and Loxocera
(Rust Fly); and several sedge grasshoppers (Stethophyma spp.
birds, the seedheads are consumed by the Wood Duck, Mallard, Black
Duck, Ruffed Grouse (immature birds), Woodcock, and various granivorous
songbirds. Among mammals, the Muskrat occasionally feeds on
the roots, culms, and young sprouts of sedges, while the Fox Squirrel
and Gray Squirrel consume the seeds to a minor extent.
Along the edge of a vernal pool in
a sandy woodland at the Indiana Dunes State Park in NW Indiana.
This delicate sedge looks like a smaller version of the better-known
(Tussock Sedge), although it is not closely related to
the latter species. It has a grassy appearance, superficially
resembling one of the Brome grasses (Bromus spp.
another grass. However, unlike a Brome grass, it forms dense
tussocks. In Illinois, the closest relative of Brome-Like Sedge is
(Dewey's Sedge); this latter species has been found only
once within the state. Dewey's Sedge differs by having wider leaf
blades (exceeding 3 mm. across), wider perigynia that lack significant
veins along their inner sides, and spikelets that are less likely to
with each other along the rachis (central stalk) of the inflorescence.