Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 December 2016 | 8(14): 9673–9674






Carex capillaris L. (Cyperaceae) - a new distribution record for India


Animesh Maji 1 & V.P. Prasad 2

1,2 Central National Herbarium, Botanical Survey of India, P.O. Botanic Garden, Howrah, West Bengal 711103, India

1 (corresponding author), 2





Editor: Pankaj Kumar, Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden Corporation, Tai Po, Hong Kong. Date of publication: 26 December 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 2447 | Received 09 December 2015 | Final received 15 December 2016 | Finally accepted 17 December 2016


Citation: Maji, A. & V.P. Prasad (2016). Carex capillaris L. (Cyperaceae) - a new distribution record for India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(14): 9673–9674;


Copyright: © Maji & Prasad 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Botanical Survey of India, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Govt. of India.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the Director, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata and the Head of Office, CAL for the facilities. The link for the image of the type specimen was kindly provided by Ms. Elaine Charwat, Deputy Librarian & Linnaeus Link Administrator, The Linnean Society of London. Thanks are due to Mr. Dineshwar Kumar Sah, Artist, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata for making the illustration.






Carex L. is the largest genus of the sedge family Cyperaceae and is one of the largest genera of flowering plants. There are 1,816 species of Carex (WCSP 2015) distributed throughout the world with the main centres of diversity in North America and eastern Africa (Starr et al. 1999). In India there are about 160 species, distributed mainly in the Himalaya (Maji & Prasad 2015). Haq et al. (2012) reported 40 species from the Himalayan state of Jammu & Kashmir.

While studying the old specimens of Carex in CAL, the authors came across a collection from Suru, Kashmir, identified as Carex capillaris L. A critical examination of the specimen and perusal of literature revealed that the identity is correct and the species has not yet been reported from India. Therefore, it is reported here as a new distribution record for the country. To facilitate easy identification a detailed description, illustrations and other relevant information are provided.

Materials and Methods: To confirm the identity and distribution of the species, relevant literature, viz., Clarke (1894), Kukkonen (2001), Lunkai et al. (2010), and Haq et al. (2012) have been consulted. A digital image of the type material at LINN was also procured ( - accessed on 13 July 2015) for further confirmation. The herbarium specimens available at CAL, including the foreign ones have also been studied to prepare a detailed description and illustration.




Carex capillaris L.

Sp. Pl. 2: 977. 1753 (as capillari); P. W. Ball & Reznicek, Fl. North America 23: 476. 2002; Lunkai et al. in Z.Y. Wu et al., Fl. China 23: 364. 2010. Fig. 1

Type: No. 1100.57 (LINN, image!)

Perennial with short rhizome, 22–43 cm high. Rhizome ultimately woody, clothed with brownish bladeless sheaths. Culms tufted, slender, smooth, obtusely trigonous, enclosed by leaf sheaths at the base. Leaves much shorter than culm, linear, acuminate at apex, 10.5–23 cm long, c. 2 mm wide, scabrous on margins; lower ones reduced to bladeless sheaths; sheaths pale brown at base, ribbed, ultimately disintegrating into fibres. Inflorescence with 4–6 somewhat distantly arranged spikes. Involucral bracts foliaceous, sheathing, linear, shorter than subtending spike. Spikes unisexual, peduncled, the terminal one wholly male and all others females. Male spike erect, on a 7–10 mm long peduncle, oblong, 6–7 × 2.5–3 mm, brownish, many-flowered. Glumes membranous, oblong-ovate, obtuse at apex, c. 2.8×0.7 mm, with a prominent brownish mid-vein, hyaline at margins. Female spikes somewhat pendulous on a 17–22 mm long peduncle, cylindrical, oblong, 8–10 × 3-4 mm, 6–16 flowered. Glumes membranous, ovate, acute at apex, 2.1–2.3 × c. 1.5 mm, with a prominent green mid-vein, hyaline at margins, brownish when dry, pubescent along the upper margins. Style c. 1 mm long; stigmas 3, protruding through apex of the utricle. Utricle obtusely trigonous, longer than glume, oblong-ovate, 3–3.2 × 0.8–1 mm, gradually narrowed into a 0.8–1 mm long beak at apex, nerveless except for 2 marginal veins, yellowish brown, glabrous. Achene trigonous, obovoid, c. 1.5 × 1 mm, brown.

Flowering & Fruiting: June–July.

Distribution: China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Europe, North America, India (reported here).

Specimens examined: India, Kashmir: Suru, 305m, July 1905, A. Meebold 4631 (CAL!). North America, Rocky Mountain, 1862, E. Hall & J.P. Harbour 613 (CAL!); Columbia Falls, 21.vii.1894, R.S. Williams s.n. (CAL!); Mossy Knolls, Fort Fairfield, 17.vii.1893, M.L. Fernald 140 (CAL!).

Conservation status: Data Deficient (DD) as per the IUCN categories (2012). The available information is inadequate to assess the risk factor, though the plant was found in a single locality. Therefore, more field work is required to determine the exact range of distribution and its population.



Clarke, C.B. (1894). Carex L., pp. 699–700. In: Hooker J.D. (ed.). Flora of British India 6: L. Reeve & Co., London.

Haq, E.U., G.H. Dar, B.A. Wafai & A.A. Khuroo (2012). An updated checklist of genus Carex Linnaeus (Cyperaceae) in the Indian Himalayan State of Jammu & Kashmir. Pleione 6(1): 46–55.

IUCN (2012). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, IUCN, UK, iv+32pp.

Kukkonen, I. (2001). Cyperaceae, pp. 179–180. In: Ali, S.I. & M. Qaiser (eds.). Flora of Pakistan No. 206. University of Karachi, Karachi & Missouri Botanical garden, Missouri, USA.

Lunkai, D., L. Songyun, Z. Shuren, T. Yancheng, T. Koyama & G.C. Tucker (2010). CAREX, pp. 285–461. In: Zhegyi, W., P.H. Raven & H. Deyuan (eds.). Flora of China 23. Science Press, Beijing, and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Maji, A. & V.P. Prasad (2015). Carex kotagirica: a new species of Cyperaceae from the Nilgiris, southern India. Rheedea 25(2): 81–85.

Starr, J.R., B.J. Randall & B.A. Ford (1999). The phylogenetic position of Carex section Phyllostachys and its implications for phylogeny and subgeneric circumscription in Carex (Cyperaceae). American Journal of Botany 86: 563–577.

WCSP (2015). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; - Accessed on 13.07.2015.