Carex of Chiwaukee Prairie

Chiwaukee Prairie Kramert Trail

Chiwaukee Prairie’s Krampert Trail is rich in Carex species that were collected from 2007-2013 with permits from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and The University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Part of a previous research, Carex of the Zion beach-ridge plain, new species have since been discovered and vouchered. Note: In 2018, new property on the west was purchased and a new inventory will be made for plants on the Holocene Ridge.

Final Report for WDNR and TNC

By Linda W. Curtis

Nicholas A. Miller, Director of Conservation Science (nmiller@tnc. org)




Chiwaukee Prairie has 410 acres of the northern portion of the 18-mile long Zion beach-ridge plain along Lake Michigan in the southeastern corner of Kenosha County, Wisconsin bordering the Illinois state line. During the years 2007–2013, species of Carex, family Cyperaceae, were collected from the entire beach plain; scanned and micro-imaged; and then sent to herbaria at UW-Milwaukee (UWM), UW-Madison (WIS), and Morton Arboretum (MOR). The purpose of this research was to collect Carex at Chiwaukee Prairie and verify the existing inventories by checking on vouchers in herbaria and to add new species. Although plant inventories were on websites of and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, a search of many herbaria did not find these: C. aquatilis, C. crawei, C. meadii, and C. richardsonii. The plants were collected and added to herbaria including newly discovered C. suberecta and C. siccata, thus providing a verified new inventory.


Wisconsin County Map

Table 1 Chiwaukee on Wisconsin Map

Chiwaukee Prairie in Pleasant Prairie extends from the Kenosha Dunes on the north to the border with Illinois. Geographically it is the northern part of the Zion beach-ridge plain that is a narrow erosion-deposition plain of sand and gravel formed by declining water levels on the west coast of Lake Michigan over the past 3,600 years. This Lake Michigan plain is a migratory landform that has narrowed in the past century by erosion of the beach sand and gravel, and slowly advanced southward. Chiwaukee Prairie’s foredune and parts of First Avenue eroded away and the upper beach has since been armored with limestone slabs to prevent further erosion. Although Carex species did not grow in the upper beach near the armored area, a few grew in the dry sand prairie along Lakeshore Drive that did not have a soil horizon. Carex also grew in the older mesic prairie further inland that had developed a soil horizon.

Most of the Carex species grew in the wet prairies, sedge meadows, and emergent marshes that often dried in summer, depending on rainfall and lake levels. The three prairie habitats, oak savannas, and wetland habitats supported different plant associations. Those were similar but not identical, to other sites in Illinois on the Zion beach-ridge plain that include Spring Bluff Forest Preserve, Illinois Beach State Park, Zion’s Hosah Park, and Waukegan Dunes (Table 8).

The disturbed areas south of 122nd St., the street midway between two residential areas, were from an abandoned golf course present from 1925 through the 1940’s. A pond with an island remains and is owned by the Village of Pleasant Prairie. The majority of properties are owned by WDNR, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), UW-Parkside (UWP), and small private lots. The landscape has changed over time as seen on aerial maps.

Fig. 2. Aerial map from 116th St on left, south to Wisconsin-Illinois border.

Fig. 2. Aerial map from 116th St on left, south to Wisconsin-Illinois border.

Carex species at Chiwaukee Prairie were listed on the WDNR website and also on www.Chiwaukee.Org. Online herbaria provided proof of species present as vouchered specimens that were examined, annotated or verified by other botanists. The purpose of this field research was to collect Carex and verify the lists by existing vouchers and also add new species as herbarium specimen vouchers to the inventory.

Figure 3. Screen captures: WDNR, left, 28 species and, right, 26 species.

Figure 3. Screen captures: WDNR, left, 28 species and, right, 26 species.


Permits to collect Carex culms were sought annually from the WDNR, TNC, and UWP. Fertile culms of Carex were collected, scanned and micro-imaged, and then identified using Carex manuals, websites, and herbaria virtual images. Since the WDNR and lists differed, several Midwest herbaria websites were searched to find vouchered specimens. Since specimen labels often give locations, researchers usually find the plant population again.

What is a voucher and why is it important in research? As a preserved specimen of an identified taxon deposited in a permanent and accessible storage facility, the voucher serves as the supporting material for published studies of the taxon and ensures that the science is repeatable. Vouchers are crucial in authenticating the taxonomy of an organism, as a tool for identifying localities of the taxon, and for additional taxonomic, genetic, ecological, and/or environmental research (Culley 2013).

The Wisconsin Botanical Information System www.botany.wisc. edu/wisflora is an online database of Wisconsin herbarium with records of vascular plant species that may be either searched or browsed. Browse fields are Families, Genera, and Common Names. Choose genera and Carex or go to: http://www.botany.wisc. edu/cgi-bin/GenusList.cgi. Search fields are Name, Habitat, Status, and County. Any of the counties shown on the map of Wisconsin can be selected for records of any species. Plant lists may be accessed using the values – family: Cyperaceae, and genus: Carex, species (epithet) of interest. Select “View Herbarium Records” to view records selected by column headings.

Accession numbers given to catalog incoming specimens are listed in Table 7 with their acronym. Herbaria acronyms were University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee UWM, University of Wisconsin-Madison WIS, and University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point UWSP. Another is, the Virtual Herbarium of the Chicago Region that has combined data of the Morton Arboretum MOR, Field Museum F, and the Chicago Botanic Garden CBG.

Prior to the acquisition of the Lake Michigan coast properties by TNC, plant specimens were given labels recording the location as Carol Beach or as tract numbers. Hugh Iltis who inventoried the prairies of southern Wisconsin for TNC in 1962 collected C. buxbaumii in Township: 01N, Range: 23E, Section: 32, Quarter Section: NW4NW4. The habitat label description was “Marly clay with moist sedgy depressions and sparse vegetation in flat prairie along dirt road.” That University of Wisconsin Herbarium specimen accession number was V0185796WIS at WIS (Table 1). Information about an individual collector can be found online.

The earliest vegetation analysis of southern Wisconsin prairies that included Carex was by Iltis and Zimmerman (1962). Hugh Iltis collected eight Carex in addition to other native plants at the Chiwaukee Prairie for The Nature Conservancy: C. buxbaumii, C. conoidea, C. pellita, C. sartwellii, C. sterilis, C. stricta, C. viridula, and C. umbellata. Theodore Cochrane collected seven in 1985, picking up C. bebbii, C. granularis var. haleana, and C. muehlenbergii, but not C. sartwellii and C. sterilis, and C. umbellata that Iltis found. Specimens are held at the University of Wisconsin herbarium WIS.

Also at WIS are Carex collected by Peter Hujik in 1993 for his study on the ground layer of lowland oak savannas in Wisconsin prairies that included Avoca Prairie in Iowa County and Chiwaukee Prairie in Kenosha County. Voucher specimens sent to WIS collected from Chiwaukee Prairie were C. atherodes, C. conoidea, C. granularis var. haleana, C. pellita, C. pensylvanica, and C. stricta (Hujik, 1993).

Eugene Gasiorkiewicz from UW-Parkside compiled an inventory in 1986 using the Iltis and Zimmerman 1962 checklist. Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund (CPPF) also used that inventory on its website


Data from herbaria with Carex specimens from Kenosha County and Chiwaukee Prairie are in Tables 1–6. Table 1 lists Carex species from The Wisconsin Botanical Information System WBIS had 54 specimens of 35 Carex species from Kenosha County that included species from woodlands, bogs, marshes, roadsides, dry-wet sand prairies, wetlands and savanna. Table 2 lists only the 14 Chiwaukee Prairie species at University of Wisconsin-Madison Herbarium WIS. Table 3 has Kenosha County specimens of 50 Carex species at Morton Arboretum MOR and Table 4 has only the Chiwaukee Prairie 21 species at MOR. Table 5 has fewer specimens from Kenosha County and Chiwaukee Prairie at the UWM herbarium. Table 6 lists Carex that are Plants of Concern POC. Table 7 includes all vouchered specimens, numbers, and acronyms of the herbaria of deposit, including some processed from this research. (Table 8) is an updated list from the Zion beach-ridge plain, now 54 species.

Table 1. Kenosha Co. 35 Carex at UW-Madison Herbarium WIS

Accession Carex species Date Collector
v0192089WIS Carex molesta Mack. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0192099WIS Carex molesta Mack. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0201234WIS Carex molesta Mack. 6/23/1988 Smith, James F.
v0231119WIS Carex molesta Mack. 7/14/1974 Curtis, Linda W.
v0251195WIS Carex molesta Mack. 7/14/1974 Curtis, Linda W.
v0192697WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 6/10/1994 Freckmann, Robert W.
v0192744WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0192745WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0192699WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 6/10/1994 Freckmann, Robert W.
v0192741WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0192764WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0192972WIS Carex normalis Mack. 6/23/1988 Smith, James F.
v0167166WIS Carex pellita Willd. 6/10/1994 Freckmann, Robert W.
v0167317WIS Carex pellita Willd. 6/20/1988 Smith, James F.
v0167654WIS Carex pellita Willd. 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0167661WIS Carex pellita Willd. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0167668WIS Carex pellita Willd. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0168076WIS Carex pellita Willd. 6/20/1988 Smith, James F.
v0179326WIS Carex pellita Willd. 7/3/1992 Hujik, Peter
v0204034WIS Carex pensylvanica Lam. 6/31/1965 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
v0204053WIS Carex pensylvanica Lam. 6/9/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0253262WIS Carex pensylvanica Lam. 6/12/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0195294WIS Carex praegracilis W.Boott 6/13/1996 Reznicek, A.A.
v0196908WIS Carex rosea Willd. 6/31/1965 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
v0197071WIS Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/10/1994 Freckmann, Robert W.
v0197077WIS Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0197085WIS Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/20/1988 Smith, James F.
v0204509WIS Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0231120WIS Carex sartwellii Dewey 7/5/1973 Curtis, Linda W.
v0198535WIS Carex siccata Dewey 6/20/1988 Smith, James F.
v0198553WIS Carex siccata Dewey 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0231123WIS Carex siccata Dewey 7/5/1974 Curtis, Linda W.
v0282490WIS Carex siccata Dewey 6/15/2013 Curtis, Linda W.
v0198716WIS Carex sparganioides Willd. 6/27/1970 Read, Robert H.
v0199031WIS Carex sterilis Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0199135WIS Carex sterilis Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0199141WIS Carex sterilis Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0204853WIS Carex sterilis Willd. 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0199270WIS Carex stipata Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0201646WIS Carex stipata Willd. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0204872WIS Carex stipata Muhl. Willd. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0199605WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/20/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0204550WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0204904WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0204910WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0212935WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0212944WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/11/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0231121WIS Carex stricta Lam. 7/14/1974 Curtis, Linda W.
v0044844WIS Carex swanii (Fernald) Mack. 7/14/1900 Wadmond, S.C. 
v0197973WIS Carex tetanica Schkuhr. 6/20/1988 Smith, James F.
v0197751WIS Carex trichocarpa Willd. 6/22/1901 Wadmond, S.C. 
v0197538WIS Carex trisperma Dewey 6/31/1965 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
v0183096WIS Carex umbellata Willd. 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0196770WIS Carex vesicaria L. 7/21/1901 Wadmond, S.C. 
v0196551WIS Carex viridula Michx. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0201755WIS Carex viridula Michx. 10/16/1961 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0201756WIS Carex viridula Michx. 6/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0167187WIS Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 6/20/1964 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0179369WIS Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 6/12/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0179370WIS Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 7/24/1965 Swink, Floyd A.
v0202021WIS Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 7/12/2000 Bautz, Richard A.
v0231122WIS Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 7/14/1974 Curtis, Linda W.

Kenosha County Carex (Table 1) has an earliest collection date for C. swanii in 1900 and C. vesicaria, C. cristatella, C. emoryi, and C. trichocarpa from1901 but none were from the Chiwaukee Prairie. Sixty years later, 1961-64, Hugh Iltis collected 10 Carex species in several sites in Kenosha County with Jim Zimmerman for the Nature Conservancy Inventory, including Chiwaukee Prairie (Table 2). In 1965 Floyd Swink collected in various habitats within Kenosha County for his book “Plants of the Chicago Region”. Six of the specimens in Kenosha County 1973–74 were vouchers from Benedict Prairie for UWM M.S. Botany Thesis (Curtis, 1974).

UWM major professor Dr. Phillip Whitford, a former student of University of Wisconsin’s John Curtis (1957), encouraged comparing Carex species from Benedict Prairie that had clay soils to species in sand prairies. His research at the Benedict Prairie found only C. bicknellii in the railway in his quadrats (Whitford, 1958), but no voucher was found. In 1973-74 I found similar C. molesta but not C. bicknellii in the revegetated railway. Seven Carex species that grew in clay soil at Benedict Prairie also grew in Chiwaukee Prairie’s sand prairies: C. buxbaumiiC. pellita, C. molesta, C. sartwellii, C. siccata, C. stricta, and C. vulpinoidea.

Table 2. Chiwaukee Prairie Carex at UW-Madison Herbarium WIS

Accession Carex species Date Collector
v0201545WIS Carex atherodes Spreng. 9/09/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0185166WIS Carex bebbii (L.H.Bailey) Fernald 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0185796WIS Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0185827WIS Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/20/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0185828WIS Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0185829WIS Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0229693WIS Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 6/14/2009 Curtis, Linda W.
v0200458WIS Carex conoidea Willd. 6/12/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0186819WIS Carex conoidea Willd. 5/20/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0282487WIS Carex conoidea Willd. 6/22/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
v0200455WIS Carex conoidea Willd. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0188206WIS Carex granularis Willd. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0188213WIS Carex granularis Willd. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0282488WIS Carex granularis Muhl var haleana (Olney) Porter 6/23/2013 Curtis, Linda W.
v0200946WIS Carex granularis Willd. 6/12/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0192764WIS Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0179326WIS Carex pellita Willd. 7/03/1992 Hujik, Peter
v0282489WIS Carex pensylvanica Lam. 6/23/2013 Curtis, Linda W.
v0253262WIS Carex pensylvanica Lam. 6/12/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0204509WIS Carex sartwellii Dewey 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0282490WIS Carex siccata Dewey 6/15/2013 Curtis, Linda W.
v0204853WIS Carex sterilis Willd. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0199605WIS Carex stricta Lam. 5/20/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0204550WIS Carex stricta Lam. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0204904WIS Carex stricta Lam. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0212944WIS Carex stricta Lam. 6/11/1993 Hujik, Peter
v0183096WIS Carex umbellata Willd. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0196551WIS Carex viridula Michx. 7/27/1985 Cochrane, Theodore S.
v0201755WIS Carex viridula Michx. 10/16/1961 Iltis, Hugh H.
v0201756WIS Carex viridula Michx. 5/27/1962 Iltis, Hugh H.
Table 2 WIS has 16 species from four collectors at Chiwaukee as of Dec 31, 2013.

Table 3. Kenosha Co. 49 Carex species at Morton Arboretum Herbarium


Accession Carex species Date Collector
MOR27164 Carex aquatilis Wahlenb. 9/21/1976 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR27169 Carex aquatilis Wahlenb. 6/08/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR10704 Carex atherodes Spreng. 7/27/1980 Sorensen, Paul D.
MOR27160 Carex bicknellii Britton 7/29/1976 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR7655 Carex blanda Dewey 6/04/1976 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR177558 Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. ex Lunell 6/14/2010* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR35870 Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. 7/03/1975* Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR46136 Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. 6/12/1980 Sorensen, Paul D.
MOR7437 Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. 8/19/1970 Read, Robert H.
MOR27156 Carex brunnescens (Pers.) Poir. 6/08/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR35868 Carex brunnescens (Pers.) Poir. 6/01/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR7445 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/25/1970* Ciolac, Catherine
MOR177557 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/31/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR176239 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 6/13/1965* Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR176238 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 7-24-1967* Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR130416 Carex cephaloidea (Dewey) Dewey 6/11/1995 Dritz, Ken
MOR7461 Carex cephalophora Willd. 6/27/1970 Read, Robert H.
MOR7466 Carex comosa Boott 9/21/1976 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR177556 Carex conoidea Willd. 6/14/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR7482 Carex conoidea Willd. 7/03/1975* Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR7503 Carex cristatella Britton 7/29/1976 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR7504 Carex cristatella Britton 9/21/1976 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR7524 Carex diandra Schrank 6/01/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR46080 Carex emoryi Dewey 6/14/1980 Sorensen, Paul D.
MOR100934 Carex flava L. annotated C. viridula 2007 7/26/1953* Swink, Floyd A.
MOR176240 Carex gracillima Schwein 7/03/1965* Smith, Leland
MOR Carex gracillima Schwein 6/14/2013* Hipp, Andrew
MOR7565 Carex granularis Willd. 5/27/1970 Swink, Floyd A.
MOR177555 Carex granularis var haleana 6/14/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR7398 Carex gravida L.H.Bailey 6/13/1975 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR83184 Carex grayi J.Carey 6/07/1989 Swink, Floyd A.
MOR27172 Carex grisea Wahlenb. 6/08/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR32227 Carex grisea Wahlenb. 6/08/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR111400 Carex hirtifolia Mack. 5/31/1992 Steffen, J.F.
MOR7604 Carex hystericina Willd. 7/02/1975 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR7652 Carex lasiocarpa Ehrh. 6/01/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR7663 Carex leptalea Wahlenb. 6/27/1970 Read, Robert H.
MOR7666 Carex leptalea Wahlenb. 5/27/1970 Swink, Floyd A.
MOR Carex molesta Bright 6/14/2013* Hipp, Andrew
MOR176242 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 6/19/1965* Olson. J.W. UWP
MOR176241 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 6/08/1967* Olson & Nelson
MOR7709 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 7/03/1975* Wilhelm & Schulenberg
MOR7709 Carex muehlenbergii Willd. 7/03/1975* Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR176169 Carex normalis Mack. 6/14/1965* Olson, J. W. UWP
MOR27145 Carex normalis Mack. 6/08/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR7644 Carex pellita Willd. 5/27/1970 Swink, Floyd A.
MOR176234 Carex pellita (lanuginosa) Willd.) 6/13/1965* Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR131187 Carex pensylvanica Lam. 4/29/1995 Johnson, Ken
MOR5521 Carex praegracilis W.Boott 5/27/1981 Dritz, Ken
MOR27103 Carex prairea Dewey 6/21/1977* Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR7768 Carex radiata (Wahlenb.) Small 6/27/1970 Read, Robert H.
MOR7684 Carex retrorsa Schwein. 7/02/1975 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR177554 Carex richardsonii R. Br. 5/10/2010* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR7500 Carex rosea Willd. 6/04/1976 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR177553 Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/14/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR7780 Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/10/1970 Read, Robert H.
MOR Carex scoparia Schkuhr ex Willd. 6/14/2013* Hipp, Andrew
MOR111399 Carex sparganioides Willd. 5/31/1992 Steffen, J.F.
MOR7790 Carex sparganioides Willd. 6/27/1970 Read, Robert H.
MOR7822 Carex sterilis Willd. 5/27/1970 Schulenberg, Raymond F.
MOR7823 Carex sterilis Willd. 5/25/1970* Ciolac, Catherine
MOR176171 Carex sterilis Willd. 6/13/1965* Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR176107 Carex sterilis Willd. 6/08/1967* Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR7811 Carex stipata Willd. 6/01/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR171934 Carex stricta Lam. 6/08/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR176170 Carex stricta Lam. 6/08/1967* Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR177552 Carex suberecta (Olney) Britton. 8/04/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR111416 Carex tenera Dewey 5/31/1992 Steffen, J.F.
MOR27080 Carex tenera Dewey 6/08/1977 Swink, Byrne & Wilhelm
MOR177630 Carex tetanica Schkuhr. 6/05/2010* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR35865 Carex tetanica Schkuhr. 6/01/1975* Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR176174 Carex tribuloides Wahlenb. 7/24/1967* Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR27074 Carex trisperma Dewey 6/08/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR177629 Carex umbellata Willd. 5/09/2011* Curtis, Linda W.
MOR7776 Carex utriculata Boott 7/25/1973 Schulenberg, Raymond
MOR176206 Carex viridula Michx. 7/24/1967* Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR7886 Carex viridula Michx. 8/17/1968* Swink, Floyd
MOR7897 Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 6/13/1975 Schulenberg, Raymond
MOR177631 Carex vulpinoidea Mich. 7/29/2012* Curtis, Linda W.

* collected at Chiwaukee Prairie

Table 4. Chiwaukee Prairie 21 species of Carex at Morton Arboretum MOR

Accession Carex species Date Collector
MOR35870 Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. ex Lunell 7/03/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR177558 Carex brevior (Dewey) Mack. ex Lunell 6/14/2010 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR7445 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/25/1970 Ciolac, Catherine
MOR177557 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 5/31/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR176239 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 6/13/1965 Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR176238 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 7/24/1967 Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR177556 Carex conoidea Willd. 6/14/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR35869 Carex conoidea Willd. 6/01/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR7482 Carex conoidea Willd. 7/03/1975 Schulenberg, Raymond
MOR100934 Carex flava L. annotated C. viridula 2007 7/26/1953 Swink, Floyd
MOR176240 Carex gracillima Schwein. 7/03/1965 Smith, Leland
MOR Carex gracillima Schwein. 6/14/2013 Hipp, Andrew
MOR177555 Carex granularis var haleana 6/14/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR Carex molesta Bright 6/14/2013 Hipp, Andrew
MOR176242 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 6/19/1965 Olson. J.W. UWP
MOR176241 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 6/08/1967 Olson & Nelson
MOR7709 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 7/03/1975 Wilhelm & Schulenberg
MOR27103 Carex muehlenbergii Schkuhr ex Willd. 7/07/1995 Wilhelm. Gerould
MOR176169 Carex normalis Mack. 6/14/1965 Olson, J. W. UWP
MOR176234 Carex pellita Willd. (lanuginosa) 6/13/1965 Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR27103 Carex prairea Dewey 6/21/1977 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR177554 Carex richardsonii R. Br. 5/25/2010 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR177553 Carex sartwellii Dewey 6/14/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR Carex scoparia Schkuhr ex Willd. 6/14/2013 Hipp, Andrew
MOR7823 Carex sterilis Willd. 5/05/1970 Ciolac & Swink
MOR176171 Carex sterilis Willd. 6/13/1965 Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR176107 Carex sterilis Willd. 6/08/1967 Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR171934 Carex stricta Lam. 6/08/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR176172 Carex stricta Lam. 6/14/1965 Olson, J.W. UWP
MOR176170 Carex stricta Lam. 6/08/1967 Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR177552 Carex suberecta (Olney) Britton. 8/04/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR177630 Carex tetanica Schkuhr. 6/05/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR35865 Carex tetanica Schkuhr. 6/01/1975 Wilhelm, Gerould
MOR176174 Carex tribuloides Wahlenb. 7/24/1967 Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR177629 Carex umbellata Willd. 5/09/2011 Curtis, Linda W.
MOR176206 Carex viridula Michx. 7/24/1967 Olson & Nelson UWP
MOR7886 Carex viridula Michx. 8/17/1968 Swink, Floyd
MOR 177631 Carex vulpinoidea Michx. 7/04/2012 Curtis, Linda W.

Kenosha County Carex specimens at Morton Arboretum Herbarium database MOR are on www. and at A faster search is:

MOR had 12 Carex from Chiwaukee Prairie in their Database in November 2013 and 22 species cataloged by end of Dec 2013, and more to be labeled (Table 4). Ten new Chiwaukee Prairie specimens were from UW-Parkside Herbarium UWP and were verified by Gerould Wilhelm and given accession numbers. Three specimens from Chiwaukee Prairie collected in by 2013 by curator Dr. Andrew Hipp were entered but not numbered are: C. gracillima, C. molesta, and C. scoparia. C. molesta was new to Chiwaukee Prairie but was collected in 2011 farther south on the Zion beach-ridge plain and now at Illinois State Museum ISM(Curtis 2013).

Kenosha County specimens at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee UWM (Table 5) are accessed in the Wisconsin Herbaria Plant Specimen Database if UWM is entered in Accession box, and Kenosha in Location box. For just Chiwaukee Prairie, tract and range are T1 R23E, Sect 32, Sect 1.

Table 5. Kenosha Co. and Chiwaukee Carex at UW-Milwaukee UWM

Accession Carex species Date Collector
UWM0009907 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb. 7/17/2008 Chi Curtis, Linda
UWM0010058 Carex pellita Willd. 6/05/1939 Chi Fuller, A.M.
UWM0010083 Carex molesta Mack. 7/14/1974 Ben Curtis, Linda W.
UWM0010152 Carex meadii Dewey 7/17/2008 Chi Curtis, Linda W.
UWM65301 Carex richardsonii R. Br. 5/09/2010 Chi Curtis, Linda W.
UWM65337 Carex siccata Dewey 6/08/2013 Chi Curtis, Linda W.
UWM65310 Carex suberecta (Olney) Britton 6/14/2010 Chi Curtis, Linda W.

Chi = Chiwaukee Prairie Ben = Benedict Prairie, a field station of UW-Parkside (Curtis, 1974). Collector Albert M. Fuller was the curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum and planned the Statewide Museum Project 1937-39 to collect plants.

The UW-Stevens Point Herbarium UWSP has 40 Kenosha County Carex species. Although omitted as a table here, it has different species than WIS and MOR from Chiwaukee Prairie. Robert Freckmann collected C. buxbaumii and C. sterilis for UWSP while C. muehlenbergii, C. pellita and C. sartwellii were for WIS (Table 1).

The earliest inventory for Chiwaukee Prairie had 26 Carex species and was compiled by UW-Parkside by Eugene Gasiorkiewicz in mimeograph form in 1986 and used the Iltis and Zimmerman’s collection data from 1962. It was used by Lori Artiomow in 2010 for the POC website (Table 6). Lists differ from the new URL “ compared to Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund’s website. Wisconsin’s DNR list had C. adusta, C. lasiocarpa, and C. schweinitizi that were not on the website. Conversely, WDNR did not list C. meadii, and C. haydenii.

The Chicago Botanic Garden and Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund’s Plants of Concern POC website list includes C. conoidea, C. crawei, C. cryptolepis, C. umbellata and C. viridula on the watch list for southern Wisconsin and Illinois (Table 6). C. richardsonii, UPL and C=10, as was found during this research and POC may re-list it on the watch list.

Table 6. Plants of Concern POC Carex at Chiwaukee Prairie 2013

Scientific Name Common Name Collected 2007-13 S&W IND Wetland category
Carex conoidea Prairie Gray Sedge yes 10 10 FACW+
Carex crawei Early Fen Sedge yes 10 10 OBL
Carex cryptolepis Small Yellow Sedge no 9 10 OBL
Carex umbellata Early Oak Sedge yes 9 5 UPL
Carex viridula Green Yellow Sedge yes 10 8 OBL

Table 6 also shows the numerical value of the species ranked 1-10 in the Chicago Region portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin (Swink & Wilhelm, 1994). For the entire state of Indiana, the numbers are different, added to show differences (Rothrock, 2004).

The species most tolerant or with preference for disturbance are the lower numbers 0-3. The highest numbered 8-10 species grow in specific natural habitats and do not survive disturbance. Species in an area are used to calculate a Coefficient of Conservation, a number indicating how pristine or disturbed the area based on its flora.

Plants are categorized as growing in wet to dry habitats. Obligate wetland plants, OBL, grow in perennially wet or hydric soils. Obligate wetland species were C. aquatilis, C. bebbii, C. buxbaumii, C. diandra, C. hystericina, C. pellita, C. sterilisC. stricta, C. viridula, and C. vulpinoidea (Swink and Wilhelm, 1994).

The natural habitats in the depressions include marshes, sedge meadows, wet prairie, creeks and ponds. Rhizomatous C. aquatilis grew along and over a quicksand creek flowing to Lake Michigan. In marshy swales, C. buxbaumii grew with C. pellita and C. stricta. C. vulpinoidea grew along a weedy and wet dead-end road along WDNR lots north of 116th St. C. suberecta, OBL and C=8, was discovered in 2011, and grew along side of 122nd Street, a rutted road, that runs to the railway. The specimen was not found again after a wide roadside mowing in 2013.

Other obligate wetland species that were not found and likely in the wetlands were C. diandra, C. hystricina, and C. sterilis. C. viridula, not in the WDNR list, grew along a water-filled roadside ditch at 1st Court near former 117th St and 2nd Ave.

FACW species grow in wetlands and wet areas that are often drier during the summer. These are C. conoidea, C. crawei, C. granularis, C. normalis, C. praireaC. sartwellii, C. tetanica, and C. tribuloides. Not found were C. normalis, C. prairea, and C. tribuloides. However, C. granularis var. haleana grew in disturbed soil along the rut road on 122nd Street near the railway. A separate species C. haleana in Illinois (Mohlenbrock 2011), Michigan and Wisconsin list that instead as a variety.

Rare FACW Carex not yet found at Chiwaukee Prairie are C. aurea and C. garberi but are known from other sites on the Zion beach-ridge plain. Associates C. crawei, C. conoidea and C. tetanica grow in Chiwaukee Prairie and in wet calcareous prairies and sedge meadows in southeastern Wisconsin (Hipp, 2008).

Six Carex that grew along a WDNR marsh on 4th Avenue north of 116th Street were: C. buxbaumii, C. meadii, C. pellita, C. sartwellii, C. stricta and C. viridula. Farther south, the gated 122nd Street, also known as the Olsen Trail, ends at the railway near N42 30.015 W87 48.992. There C. granularis var. haleana, C. umbellata, and C. pensylvanica grew in sand oak woods savanna in partial shade. Farther along the railway in dry sand prairie were C. siccata and C. brevior. 

Although a mature C. muehlenbergii, (previously C. muhlenbergii), was not found during this research, Wilhelm & Schulenberg had collected a specimen along the railway on 7/3/1975 that is vouchered as MOR7709 (Table 7). Other UPL or upland species in oak savannas were C. siccata and C. pensylvanica.

C. pensylvanica var. digyna is now C. inops var. heliophila in FNA Vol. 23, but is species ranked as C. heliophila in Flora of Illinois: Carex, 2011. University of Wisconsin Herbarium WIS has C. inops L. H. Bailey subsp. heliophila specimens, but not for counties of Kenosha, Racine. However, C. pensylvanica specimens at Chiwaukee Prairie had two forms, one with short acute staminate scales and another with long scales on the terminal staminate spike and larger perigynia. Michigan Flora lists the latter as C. inops var. heliophila (Voss & Reznicek, 2011).

A morel mushroom was photographed ground-level in early May and a small tuft of C. umbellata aside the mushroom became conspicuous in the macro-lens view, a sudden discovery of a sought-after species. Small species were found while searching on hands and knees close to the ground, otherwise missed when standing. Tufts were finger-combed to find hidden or basal spikes. The rare C. tonsa was photographed in bloom, but not found as a mature plant. Similar to C. umbellata, both have small tufts with hidden basal spikes. C. tonsa has larger perigynia with longer beaks than C. umbellata.

Ovales, the group with flat winged perigynia and stamens in the lower scales of multiple small spikes, are known to change seed head form and either elongate or cluster more on their culms later in the season (Voss & Reznicek, 2011).

C. bicknellii, on the website lists, were not found in the field or at herbaria for Chiwaukee. That species has large perigynia 5–7 mm, translucent over the achene and long veined on both faces. Similar C. brevior was repeated found and had perigynia 3–4 mm long x 2.5–3.3 mm wide, and veinless on the inner face. Similar C. festucacea has perigynia nearly 4 mm long, so its narrower width of 2.4 mm or less was diagnostic in keying species since both C. brevior and C. bicknellii’s perigynia are wider. C. brevior has perigynia 2.5–3.5mm wide while C. bicknellii’s are 3–5 mm wide (Voss & Reznicek, 2011). C. bicknellii was on the checklist for adjoining Spring Bluff Forest Preserve in Lake County, Illinois (Curtis, 2012) but no vouchers were found, although both WDNR and had C. bicknellii listed. C. molesta does have perigynia to 5.5 mm long and is that likely species.

C. meadii and C. tetanica vary morphologically in the harsh environment along the Lake Michigan coast. A robust C. tetanica could fit the description of C. meadii that is a slightly larger plant of the Midwest plains. Early blooming specimens were checked for length of anthers on the stamens of C. meadii were 4 mm long fresh and dried to 3.2 mm while C. tetanica’s were 3 mm fresh and less when dry. Chiwaukee Prairie has mostly C. tetanica. The key in the Field Manual of Michigan Flora (Voss & Reznicek, 2011) differed from Flora of Illinois: Carex (Mohlenbrock, 2011). Some specimens that appeared as C. meadii were checked for achene width. C. meadii’s achenes were 1.7–2.2 while C. tetanica’s were smaller as 1.2–1.6 mm wide. A good field clue, C. meadii’s ligules were wider than long, forming an arch to half moon, while legumes of C. tetanica were as long as wide to longer than wide, forming an ellipse.

Also problematic, some C. stricta had long red scales and were similar to C. haydenii. The Morton Arboretum provided perigynia from their C. haydenii specimens that were rounder-shouldered and plumper than those of the Chiwaukee Prairie specimens. The C. haydenii sent to UWM may be annotated as C. stricta.

 C. richardsonii grew in Plot 25 of the POC map, south of 116th St. but north of the 2nd Ave and Al Krampert Trail street sign. An early bloomer and collected mature in May, the stamens and stigmas appeared in April but were shed before May.

No herbaria vouchers of C. richardsonii were found during online searches 2007-2013 although both the WDNR and websites listed it (Figure 3).

Species collected along the Krampert trail were C. buxbaumii, C. crawei, C. conoidea, C. meadii, C. tetanica and C. stricta. Also a deer trail, wood ticks were abundant.

Table 7: Vouchered Chiwaukee Prairie Carex

Carex species Collector Date Herbaria
C. aquatilis Curtis 6/26/2011 UWM
C. atherodes Hujik 9/09/1993 V0201545WIS
C. bebbii Chochrane Cochrane & Wetter 7/27/1985 V0185166WIS
C. brevior Ciolac Catherine 7/25/1970 MOR7445
C. brevior Curtis 6/14/2010 UWM
" " 6/14/2010 MOR177558
C. brevior Wilhelm 7/03/1975 MOR35870
C. brevior Swink 6/12/1965 V0185235WIS
C. buxbaumii Ciolac 5/25/1970 MOR7445
C. buxbaumii Cochrane 5/20/1985 V018528WIS
  " " 7/17/2008 UWM64922
C. buxbaumii Curtis 6/14/2009 V0229693WIS
" " 7/20/2008 UWM0009907
" " 5/31/2011 MOR177557
C. buxbaumii Freckmann 6/18/1968 UWSP3008
C. buxbaumii Iltis 5/27/1962 V0185796WIS
" " " V0185829WIS
C. buxbaumii Northman 7/29/1962 V0185776WIS
C. buxbaumii Olson UWP 6/13/1995 MOR176239
C. buxbaumii Olson & Nelson UWP 7/24/1967 MOR176238
C. buxbaumii Swink 6/12/1965 V0185775
C. conoidea Hujik 6/12/1993 V0200458WIS
C. conoidea Wilhelm 6/01/1975 MOR35869
C. conoidea Cochrane 5/20/1985 V0186819WIS
" " 6/26/2011
C. conoidea Curtis 6/14/2011 MOR177556
" " 6/22/2011 V0282487WIS
" " " UWM
C. conoidea Iltis 5/27/1966 V0200455WIS
C. conoidea Schulenberg 7/03/1975 MOR7482
C. conoidea Swink 6/12/1965 V0186815WIS
C. crawei Curtis 6/17/2008 UWM
C. flava Swink annotated C. viridula 7/26/1953 MOR100934
C. gracillima Smith 7/03/1975 MOR176240
C. gracillima Hipp 6/14/2013 MOR
C. granularis var. haleana Chochrane Cochrane & Wetter 7/27/1985 V0188213WIS
" " " V0188206
C. granularis var. haleana Curtis 6/05/2011 MOR177555
" " " UWM
" " 6/23/2013 V0282488WIS
C. granularis haleana Hujak 6/12/1993 V0200946WIS
C. granularis haleana Swink 6/12/1965 V0188236WIS
C. hystericina Swink 6/12/1965 V0184571WIS
C. meadii Curtis 7/17/2008 UWM0010152
C. molesta Hipp 6/14/2013 MOR
C. muehlenbergii Chochrane Cochrane & Wetter 7/27/1985 V0192764WIS
C. muehlenbergii Freckmann 6/10/1994 V0192697WIS
  " " " V0192699WIS
C. muehlenbergii Olson UWP 6/19/1995 MOR176242
C. muehlenbergii Olson & Nelson 6/08/1967 MOR176241
C. muehlenbergii Swink 6/12/1965 V0192741WIS
  " " " V0192744WIS
  " " " V0292745WIS
C. muehlenbergii Wilhelm & Schulenberg 7/03/1975 MOR7709
C. muehlenbergii Wilhelm 7/07/1995 MOR27103
C. normalis Olson UWP 6/14/1965 MOR176169
C. pellita Curtis 5/31/2011 UWM
C. pellita Fuller 6/05/1939 UWM0010058
C. pellita Freckmann 6/10/1994 V0167166WIS
C. pellita Hujik 7/03/1992 V0179326WIS
C. pellita Iltis 5/27/1962 V0167654WIS
C. pellita Olson 6/13/1965 MOR176234
C. pensylvanica Curtis 6/23/2013 V0282489WIS
  " " " UWM
C. pensylvanica Hujik 6/12/1993 V0253262WIS
C. pensylvanica Swink 5/09/1965 V0204053WIS
C. prairea Wilhelm 6/21/1977 MOR 27103
C. richardsonii Curtis 5/09/2010 UWM65301
C. richardsonii Curtis 5/25/2010 MOR177554
C. sartwellii Curtis 6/14/2011 UWM
" " " MOR177553
C. sartwellii Freckmann 6/10/1994 V0197971WIS
C. sartwellii Iltis 5/27/1962 V0204509WIS
C. sartwellii Swink 6/12/1965 V0197077WIS
C. scoparia Hipp 6/14/2013 MOR
C. siccata Curtis 6/15/2013 UWM65337
" " 6/15/2013 V0282490WIS"
C. sterilis Ciolac & Swink 5/25/1970 MOR7823
C. sterilis Freckmann 6/16/1968 UWSP3009
C. sterilis Iltis 5/27/1962 V0204853WIS
C. sterilis Olson UWP 6/13/1965 MOR176171
C. sterilis Olson & Nelson UWP 6/08/1967 MOR176107
C. sterilis Swink 6/12/1965 V0199031WIS
" " " V0199135WIS
" " " V0199141WIS
C. stricta Cochrane 6/12/1965 V0100605WIS
C. stricta Curtis 6/08/2011 MOR171934
C. stricta Hujik 6/11/1993 V0212944WIS
" " " V0204904WIS
C. stricta Iltis 5/27/1962 V0204550WIS
C. stricta Olson UWP 6/13/1965 MOR176172
C. stricta Olson & Nelson 6/08/1967 MOR176170
C. stricta Swink 6/12/1965 V024190WIS
C. suberecta Curtis 7/14/2010 UWM65310
" " " MOR177552
C. tetanica Curtis 6/05/2011 UWM
  " " " MOR177630
C. tetanica Wilhelm 6/01/1975 MOR35865
C. tribuloides Olson & Nelson UWP 7/24/1967 MOR176174
C. umbellata Curtis 5/31/2011 UWM
" " 5/09/2011 MOR177629
C. umbellata Iltis 5/27/1962 V0183096WIS
C. viridula Cochrane, Cochrane, Wetter 7/27/1985 V0196551WIS
C. viridula Curtis 7/02/2009 UWM
C. viridula Olson & Nelson UWP 7/24/1967 MOR176206
C. viridula Iltis 5/27/1962 V0201756WIS
C. viridula Swink 8/17/1968 MOR7886
C. vulpinoidea Curtis 7/04/2012 MOR177631
" " " V0231122WIS
C. vulpinoidea Swink 6/12/1965 V0179369WIS

Species collected that were not on the WDNR website for Chiwaukee Prairie, were C. brevior, C. siccata and C. suberecta and only C. brevior was vouchered. Others without vouchers were: C. bicknellii, C. festucacea, C. lasiocarpa, and C. stipata. C. stipata and C. muehlenbergii were seen along 122nd St. but that roadside was widely mowed the following year before the plants matured.

C. flava was collected by Swink in 1953 and annotated to C. viridula in 2007.

C. cryptolepis has not been collected in Chiwaukee or on the Zion beach-ridge plain but was discovered farther south in Montrose Harbor in Chicago (Milde, 2013). C. viridula has yellow-green perigynia, 2–3 mm long. C. flava has bright yellow perigynia, 4–6.3 mm long while C. cryptolepis has yellow-green perigynia 3.2–4.5 mm long (Mohlenbrock, 2011).

The Carex species in the list from that were not collected during this research were 16 species: C. atherodes, C. bebbii, C. bicknellii, C. diandraC. festucacea, C. flava, C. hystericina, C. muehlenbergii, C. normalis, C. praireaC. retrorsa, C. sterilis, C. stipata, C. tenera, C. tonsa and C. tribuloides. Four of these species were in herbaria as vouchered specimens: C. atherodes, C. muehlenbergii, C. prairea and C. sterilis.

Species not found from WDNR list were: C. adusta, C. bebbii, C. bicknellii, C. diandra, C. festucacea, C. hystericina, C. lasiocarpa, C. normalis, C. schweinitzii, C. stipata, and C. tribuloides. C. adusta, C. bicknellii, and C. schweinitzii are dubious.

Species on former lists may have been recorded during field research and data sampling (quadrant or transect) but not collected. Species from lists without vouchers were C. bicknellii, C. diandra, C. festucaea, and C. richardsonii, but may be in other herbaria or private collections. The specimen of C. richardsonii found in this research in 2010 is now vouchered at both UWM and MOR.

This research provided 18 species for herbaria, two new* to prior inventory lists.

C. aquatilis, C. brevior, C. buxbaumii, C. conoidea, C. crawei, C. granularis var haleana, C. meadii, C. pellita, C. pensylvanica, C. richardsonii, C. sartwellii, C. siccata,*C. stricta, C. suberecta,*C. tetanica, C. umbellata, C. viridula and C. vulpinoidea.

The 18-mile long Zion beach-ridge plain has 54 species since C. flava was annotated as C. viridula (Table 8). Species from other sites on the Zion beach-ridge plain that were not found at Chiwaukee were: C. annectens var xanthocarpa, C. aurea, C. blanda, C. comosa, C. cephalophoraC. cristatella, C. garberi, C. grisea, C. inops var heliophila, C. interior, C. lacustrisC. laxiflora, C. retrorsa, C. rosea, C. tenera and C. sparganioides. This is a potential search list for other species yet to be discovered.

C. tenera was in the Spring Bluff inventory column but was not on either the WDNR Natural Area #54 species list nor the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund list on Although found in Kenosha County, no Chiwaukee vouchers were found and C. tenera was removed from the Chiwaukee column in the Zion beach-ridge plain Table 8. Spring Bluff has a checklist but not vouchered species.

Table 8 acronyms are IBSP = Illinois Beach State Park. CHI = Chiwaukee Prairie. SB = Spring Bluff, a Lake County Forest Preserve. W = Waukegan Dunes. H = Zion’s Hosah Park col. 2013 .

Table 8. New Carex of the Zion beach-ridge plain

no Carex species common name locations
1 C. annectens var xanothocapa Small Yellow Fox Sedge
2 C. aquatilis Water Sedge ✔**
3 C. atherodes Wheat Sedge
4 C. aurea Golden Sedge
5 C. bebbii Bebb’s Sedge
6 C. bicknellii Bicknell’s Sedge
7 C. blanda Wood Sedge
8 C. brevior Plains Oval Sedge
9 C. buxbaumii Buxbaum’s Sedge
10 C. cephalophora Short-headed Sedge
11 C. comosa Bristly Sedge
12 C. conoidea Prairie Gray Sedge
13 C. crawei Early Fen Sedge
14 C. cristatella Crested Sedge
15 C. cryptolepis Small Yellow Sedge
16 C. diandra Bog Panicled Sedge
17 C. festucacae Fescue Sedge
C. flava annotated C. viridula Large Yellow Sedge
18 C. garberi False Golden Sedge
19 C. gracillima Graceful Sedge
20 C. granularis var haleana Pale grain Sedge
21 C. grisea Gray Sedge
22 C. haydenii Hayden’s Sedge
23 C. heliophila Plains Sedge
24 C. hystericina Porcupine Sedge
25 C. hyalinolepis Shoreline Sedge
26 C. interior Inland Sedge
27 C. lacustris Lake Sedge
28 C. lasiocarpa Hairy–fruited Sedge
29 C. laxiflora Beech Wood Sedge
30 C. meadii Mead’s Sedge
31 C. molesta Troublesome Sedge
32 C. muehlenbergii Sand Bracted Sedge
33 C. normalis Normal Sedge
34 C. pellita Woolly Sedge
35 C. pensylvanica Penn Sedge
36 C. prairea Fen Panicled Sedge
37 C. retrorsa Retrorse Sedge
38 C. richardsonii Richardson’s Sedge
39 C. rosea Rose Sedge
40 C. sartwellii Running Marsh Sedge
41 C. scoparia Pointed Broom Sedge
42 C. siccata Running Prairie Sedge
43 C. sparganioides Bur-reed Sedge
44 C. sterilis Fen Star Sedge
45 C. stipata Saw-beak Sedge
46 C. stricta Tussock Sedge
47 C. suberecta Wedge Sedge
48 C. tenera Remote Sedge
49 C. tetanica Stiff Sedge
50 C. tonsa Shaved Sedge
51 C. tribuloides Bristle-bract Sedge
52 C. umbellata Umbrella Sedge
53 C. viridula Little Green Sedge
54 C. vulpinoidea Brown Fox Sedge

Rare C. tonsa was photographed at Chiwaukee Prairie by POC Lori Artiomow, but no specimen was taken. (Artiomow, 2007). Search for a mature specimen continues in Plot 1 of the POC map north of the state border, west of Prairie Cove Harbor Marina and near the western railway border.

The tables with collection dates indicate the best time to identify mature seed heads in the field. However, the keys for identification in manuals were devised from characteristics of dried mature specimens that appear different from than fresh plants. The window of opportunity for keying mature fresh specimens may be within a few weeks, but the sedge season of different species maturation is April-October. Current studies on phenological shift caused by global warming may use vouchers as proof of blooming or maturity data changes. (Denslow, 2008).


A more accurate inventory of the Chiwaukee Prairie Carex species was determined after six years of field research with 18 species collected as vouchers and sent to herbaria. Specimens were given accession numbers by herbaria UWM, WIS, and MOR. Online herbaria searches resulted in a list of 29 vouchered species including 18 of this research. New Carex species collected that were previously not vouchered were C. aquatilis, C. crawei, C. meadii, and C. richardsonii, plus new C. suberecta and C. siccata.


Thanks to Nick Miller and Stephanie Judge of The Nature Conservancy, Tom Meyer of WDNR, David Rogers of UW-Parkside, Bethany Brown from the Morton Arboretum Herbarium and curator Andrew Hipp who also collected at Chiwaukee Prairie. Also thanks to Mark Wetter and Ted Cochrane at UW-Madison Herbarium, and Sara Hoot and Keir Wefferling at UW-Milwaukee Herbarium, and Tori Graham of the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund. Also thanks to Lori Artiomow, Susanne Masi and Rachel Goad of Plants of Concern. I appreciate Merel Black who entered my Chiwaukee Prairie images on the Robert Freckmann Herbarium UWSP website. Last, Gerould Wilhelm, thanks for your pursuit of small herbaria and annotations of Carex.


Artiomow, L. Personal Communication. Plants of Concern monitoring Chiwaukee. 2007.

Ball, P. W. and A.A. Reznicek. Eds. Cyperaceae. Flora of North America, Volume 23: 254–573. New York: Oxford University Press.

Culley, Theresa. 2013. Why Vouchers Matter in Botanical Research. Applications in Plant Sciences, 1(11) 2013. Botanical Society of America. (

Curtis, L.W. 1974. A vegetation analysis of Benedict Prairie, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, Master’s thesis, UWisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Image of Carex buxbaumii

Image of Carex buxbaumii, the most conspicuous and the most frequently collected sedge in the wetland prairies. 

Chiwaukee Prairie Map

Chiwaukee Prairie Map. Permission granted by Thomas A. Meyer to use WDNR website map. website:







History of locations and ownerships

Formerly Weyhe Prairie, Chiwaukee Prairie was platted for development when acquired by the Nature Conservancy in 1967 and increased by purchase of lots. On the north, Kenosha Dunes at N42 40.000 extend from 85th to 80th Street in Kenosha. The western boundary, Union Pacific railway, is at W87 49.024. Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources owned 308 acres north of 116th Street near Carol Beach.

South of 116th Street, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owned 196 separate tracts or 149.52 acres that extended to the Illinois border. In 2011, TNC added 4.42 acre Barnes Prairie to the holdings. University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UWP) and Village of Pleasant Prairie (VPP) also own about 100 acres within Chiwaukee Prairie.

The unmarked southern border is almost a mile wide from railway to Lake Michigan shore at the Wisconsin-Illinois State line. It is aside Prairie Harbor Marina at 126th to 128th Street, numbered from Kenosha. Just below the Illinois border, Russell Road becomes 1st Street east of Sheridan Road and ends at the west side of the railway with no access across. The entry to the Illinois Beach State Park’s North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor is from 7th Street. North Point dunes In Illinois are being restored with transplants by the Lake County Forest Preserves, including Carex.

Spring Bluff, a Lake County Forest Preserve, is also adjacent to Chiwaukee Prairie’s southern border and the railway is also the western boundary. Spring Bluff has no dunes as it is on is on the western side of Winthrop Harbor’s North Point Marina. Spring Bluff has 31 Carex species, check listed but not vouchered, most species in marshes and low ridges. Although Spring Bluff and the adjacent Illinois Beach State Park have many Carex species in common, some were exclusive to their sites.

Chiwaukee Prairie has four major ownerships plus private lots. WDNR properties are north of 116th beginning near 4th Avenue and extend north through the Kenosha Dunes. Recently The Nature Conservancy donated its properties south of 116th Street to the State of Wisconsin, and ownership will pass to WDNR in 2014. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s property extends from 116th to 122nd Street, plus some individual lots. The Village of Pleasant Prairie owns property that includes a seasonal pond and island in a former golf course platted in 1925. Two ponds were created originally, but the pond north of 122nd Street filled in naturally.

The railway on the western border follows the geologic Holocene bluff known as the Zion ridge or old Lake Chicago bluff. The width of Chiwaukee Prairie from the Lake Michigan coast to the railway on the west is almost ¾ of one mile at 116th Street.

Lakeshore Drive is now discontinuous and partly eroded away. Some former homes on the coast collapsed or were removed while some still exist. Lakeshore Drive continues to 127th Street, the private Prairie Cove Marina and the nearby but unmarked Illinois border between two ponds and Skipper Bud’s Marina in Illinois.


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