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Cyperaceae Identification Workshop
Sunday, 18th October 2015, 10:00 - 16:30
Introduction to the sedge family (Cyperaceae) with Dr M (Dr Jonathan Mitchley),University of Reading.
The Cyperaceae is a large plant family commonly known as sedges, which superficially resemble grasses and rushes. There are around 5,500 species described in about 109 different genera with centres of diversity in tropical Asia and tropical South America. The largest genus in the Cyperaceae is Carex with 2,000 species world-wide and 78 in Britain. Sedges are often associated with poor soils and with wetlands and they can be important indicator plants of environmental conditions.
This one day workshop will introduce the sedge family from a UK perspective and the morning will start by clarifying the main differences between sedges and grasses and rushes. The main features of Cyperaceae will be illustrated using live material and PowerPoint slides and a digital microscope. For the remainder of the day we will focus on true sedges (Carex spp.) and will use live and preserved material to identify the parts of a sedge which are important for ID (stems, leaves, ligules, spikelets and flowers – including glumes and utricles). We will spend the afternoon practicing identifying common sedges using the dichotomous key from The New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace. By the end of the day you should have gained increased confidence in distinguishing sedges from grasses and rushes and be able to use a key to identify common species and be prepared to tackle new species you find in the future, most important of all, you should also have had some botanical fun on the way!
What you will need to bring: No previous experience of sedges or using dichotomous keys is necessary, although if you have some it will help! Please bring x10 or x20 hand lens and a copy of Stace if you have it (any edition will do) and any other sedge ID books. There will be plenty of copies on hand so don’t worry if you don’t have one.
Finally, check out his account of the Cyperaceae family on his website at: http://drmgoeswild.com/dr-ms-top-twenty-flowering-plant-families-cyperaceae/