Carex inops ssp. heliophila
Sun sedge

Key Characteristics

Loosely clumped sedge of open sandy prairies; similar to C. pensylvanica; leaves 1-3 mm; perigynia globose, 1.7 - 2.2 mm wide, with beaks up 1.3 mm long; staminate spikes with upper scales long-acuminate and spreading.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G5T5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Carex inops ssp. heliophila

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


This species inhabits dry, open sandy soils and is at the eastern edge of its range in Michigan. It can be difficult to distinquish from the much more common Pennslyvania sedge except with well-developed perigynia.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Data is currently lacking on associates, but likely includes species such as black oak, white oak, little bluestem, and Pennsylvania sedge.


The primary needs for this species are status surveys and conservation of sites where it is found. It likely requires natural disturbances associated with barrens and grassland habitat such as prescribed fire and brush removal. Excessive soil disturbance from activies such as ORV use should be avoided.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 18, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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