Late Grasses and Sedges

by Carl Strang

There was a midsummer lull, it seemed, in the appearance of newly flowering grasses and sedges at Mayslake Forest Preserve, but things have picked up again. First came the third foxtail species on the preserve.

Yellow foxtail has more bristles per flower than does the similar green foxtail, giving the heads a more golden appearance.

Another prairie grass began to bloom.

There’s not a lot of little bluestem at Mayslake. It probably began flowering some time before I found it doing so.

Most impressive was a very hairy and very expansive species called old witch grass.

I don’t know how to give this plant its due in a 2D photo. One aspect is a pink cloud, which a cluster of these resembles after expanding. Another impression is a fountain, as the inflorescence erupts from within the stem prior to expansion. The tiny flowers are widely scattered on the long threadlike branches of the inflorescence.

Another grass with tiny flowers is nimblewill.

This grass sometimes appears as a lawn weed, sometimes in woodlands.

The final one for today is Mayslake’s third nut sedge species.

Field nut sedge grows thickly along a portion of the little stream.

Though the season grows late, I won’t be surprised if yet more species pop into flower.

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