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Carex bigelowii

Family: Cyperaceae

Distribution: This species has been attributed to NM from a single immature specimen from Latir Mesa, Taos County.

Plants Seen or Cited: New Mexico: Taos Co., Latir Mesa, T30N R14E Sec 32, 12,600 ft, 1 Aug 1979, R. Fletcher 4019 (UNM).

Discussion: This specimen does key to C. bigelowii in Herman (1970), but upon reading the description, some details are all wrong. The scales do not resemble bigelowii and the perigynia look like they will be the wrong type when they mature. I cannot key this specimen, but I know it is not C. bigelowii. Anyone finding themselves on Latir Mesa in late summer should collect all the black-scaled carices to clear up this ID question. I also talked to Miriam Fritts about this. She says bigelowii is an eastern species and very unlikely to be in the southern Rockies. She believes Hermann's placing this species in CO and ID is just plain wrong. In short, Carex bigelowii does not occur in NM.

Important Information Sources:

Cronquist et al. 1977. Intermountain Flora, Vol. 6 - Monocots. Columbia Univ. Press.

Fritts, Miriam (Pers. Comm. 1998). Carex expert on Colorado and Arizona species. Lives in Tucson (520) 887-7291.

Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Univ. Press of Kansas, Lawrence.

Hermann, F.J. 1970. Carices of the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Basin. USFS Ag. Handbook No. 374.

Information Compiled By: Robert Sivinski, 1998

Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
Design: J. Mygatt; Copyright © 1999-2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council