Plants and Animals

Carex praticola Northern meadow sedge

Key Characteristics

Slender, light green, clumped, mostly upland sedge; 20 to 80 cm tall; all leaves near base, 1.0 to 4.0 mm wide, flat; inflorescence 2 to 7 spikes, nodding when mature; perigynia winged, 4.0 to 6.5 mm long, 1.5 mm wide, largely concealed by scales, nearly no nerves on ventral side distinguishing Carex praticola from many similar species.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: X - Presumed extirpated (legally 'threatened' if rediscovered)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: SX - Presumed extirpated


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed

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.


Historical occurrences from 1889 and 1898 were documented in Keweenaw County on Isle Royale and in Copper Harbor. No further geographic or habitat information has been documented for this species in Michigan. Elsewhere, Carex praticola is found in moist openings, meadows, open marshes, and streambanks. This species exhibits salt tolerance in other parts of its range.

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

Known associates from other areas in its range include ticklegrass (Agrostis hyemalis), blue-joint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), sedges (Carex aquatilis, C. stricta, C. nigra), hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa), narrow-leaved cotton-grass (Eriophorum angustifolium), wormseed mustard (Erysimum cheiranthoides), Baltic rush (Juncus balticus), and wild mint (Mentha canadensis).

Management Recommendations

Two collections were made in the Keweenaw Peninsula from 1889 and 1898, but it is uncertain if these populations are still extant. A status survey is needed in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Isle Royale, and nearby islands to find extant populations. If found, this species requires conservation of habitat and protection of the hydrology. Avoid surface water inputs from drainage ditches, agricultural fields, road construction, and logging in the adjacent uplands. Protect groundwater recharge areas by maintaining native vegetation types in the uplands surrounding the community.

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 June to third week of August


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

  • Anderson, J.P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and Adjacent Parts of Canada. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, USA. 543 pp.
  • Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.