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Frasier’s sedge, Cymophyllus fraserianus (also known as lily-leaf sedge) is a rare perennial grass in the sedge family (Cyperaceae).  The only species in its genus, it is believed to be a relict of the Carex genus.  Its morphology is unique as it is the only sedge that forms clumps of large, smooth evergreen blades with faint veins and no midvein.  Unlike other sedges which are usually wind pollinated, Cymophyllus fraserianus has white showy flowers that are insect pollinated.  

Frasier’s sedge is endemic to the moist shady mountain forest hillsides and stream banks in the Great Smoky Mountains and southern Appalachian region.  Its state conservation status classifies it as critically imperiled in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland and Georgia and as vulnerable throughout the rest of its range.  It is a poor seed disperser, and threatened by (deer) grazing and by loss of habitat due to development, all of which has caused its fragmentation into extremely small, genetically isolated populations at risk to genetic drift.

(Georgia DNR 2014; Godt et al. 2004; NatureServe 2014; Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program 2014; Wikipedia 2013)


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© Dana Campbell

Supplier: Dana Campbell

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