Intro to Arkansas Carex: an annotated list.

Introduction and general info.

Delayed manuscript due out in 2011, by Philip E. Hyatt
(revised October 1, 2012)

Note: I my end up simply putting all my Carex info on line.

In 1991, I started a long term project to study the Carex sedges (Family Cyperaceae, the sedge family) of Arkansas. Gradually, this project grew from an initial goal of collecting about 7000 specimens over a 20 year period and producing a book, into what it is today. The journal SIDA (now JBRIT) included "Arkansas Carex (Cyperaceae): a briefly annotated list" (see Sida 18(2): 535-554. 1998) for a summary of work to date. I published an update adding several species to the state's flora in Castanea in 2004. The draft manuscript of the long version (100+ pages currently) is available on request. This page serves several purposes: it provides a regularily updated summary of interesting finds, it gives status of the work, and it challenges other botanists (especially students and amatuers... they contribute as much as professors) to help contribute to our knowledge of these and other plants.

One hundred and thirty species (taxa, actually) are presently known to occur in Arkansas. The articles cited list them. In addition, I'm involved in the Arkansas Flora Project, and have agreed to produce a treatment of the Cyperaceae for the upcoming Flora of Arkansas.

A brief note on plant collecting. Generally, it is not recommended. Sedges are such a tough group and so poorly known, collecting is often necessary for identification. Identificaion usually takes a dissecting microscope, or at least a 10x hand lens, so the amatuer will have difficulty getting to know these plants without help. If you want to study sedges, consult your local expert or me! Even with these plants, there are rare species, so some knowledge is important while collecting. At the same time, without collecting, we (actually other scientists) wouldn't have described three new-to-science species for Arkansas in the 1990's. I do the basic work and leave description to professors.

One last note on the effects of collecting on rare species. Carex umbellata was once listed as S1 in Arkansas, there rarest rank assigned by the state. As a result of collecting, I now know it's probably the most common species of this type of sedge in Arkansas! We went from 25 to 53 known counties in one week in 1996!

Note: I use the first four letter to abbreviate Arkansas county names below.

Note to the non-botanist: I'm using scientific names, C. to abbreviate the genus Carex followed by the species name in italics (or whatever your server does for emphasis), followed by the author(s) of the name. This standard scientific practice looks confusing even to us scientists, but we get used to it.