Plants and Animals

Carex amphibola Narrow-leaved sedge

Key Characteristics

Dark green clumped sedge, 20 to 70 cm tall with brown bases; leaves glossy, 4 to 8 mm wide; staminate spike essentially sessile, smooth peduncles, pistillate spikes loosely flowered; and perigynia fewer than 15 per spike, essentially beakless, less than 2.1 mm wide, obtusely triangular in cross-section, unlike the similar C. grisea that has perigynia nearly cylindrical.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Barry 1 2012
Berrien 2 2006
Calhoun 2 1994
Cass 2 1994
Jackson 1 2008
Kalamazoo 3 2014
Kent 1 1939
Lapeer 1 1975
Ottawa 1 1939
Van Buren 1 2023
Washtenaw 2 2011

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.


Known occurrences in Michigan are in southwestern Lower Peninsula; usually in hardwood forests, occasionally in floodplains and near road banks; rarely in depressions of bur oak plains. Found in sandy to moist loamy soils with little to partial sun.

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

Sedges (Carex albursina, C. careyana, C. gracilescens, C. grisea, C. jamesii, C. pensylvanica, C. sparganioides), honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis), running strawberry-bush (Euonymus obovatus), nodding fescue (Festuca subverticillata), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), great waterleaf (Hydrophyllum appendiculatum), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), bishop’s-cap (Mitella diphylla), hairy sweet-cicely (Osmorhiza claytonia), smooth sweet-cicely (Osmorhiza longistylis), thicket creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), wild blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), small-flowered buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus), and sassafras (Sassafras albidum).

Management Recommendations

A status survey for this species in rich forests of southwest Michigan is warranted. The species requires a closed to partial canopy and maintenance of rich, moist understory conditions. Maintain healthy intact, mature forests, and minimize fragmentation. When possible, leave large tracts of unharvested forests and allow natural processes to operate unhindered.

Survey Methods

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

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of May to second week of July


Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Hipp, A.L. 2008 Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges, An Introduction to the Genus Carex (Cyperaceae). The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. 265 pp.
  • Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.