SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carex
COMMON NAME(S): Sedges
FAMILY: CYPERACEAE - Sedge family
ORIGIN: Worldwide, especially temperate and Arctic regions, about 1,000 spp.
HABITAT: Moist woods, along water courses, swamps, wet roadsides, ditches
CHARACTERISTICS: Stems rhizomatous, scaly; rhizomes creeping or clumping, flowering shoots taller than sterile shoots, often triangular in cross-section
LEAVES: Alternate, grass-like, the base sheathing the stem, or flat folded upward along midrib
FLOWERS: Flowers tiny, in spikes arranged on a branched-flower stem, the sexes usually separate
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring, summer
FRUITS: 1-seeded nutlet
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Pollen allergens
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Respiratory
COMMENTS: Carex species have been implicated as serious contributors to pollen allergies outside of the southeastern United States. Given the occurrence of over 100 species in the region, it is likely only a low frequency of exposure to these wetland plants that has kept them from figuring more importantly in clinical reports.