Blister Sedge

2017 February 18

These grass-like plants grow in the wet ditches beside our road, and were setting seed on June 29, 2016.


The leaves are tougher and more fibrous than most of the local grasses, and the seedheads are on drooping stalks.


The individual developing seeds are quite distinct, and when the head is ripe it looks like the seedhead will easily break up , with the swaying of the plant in the wind sowing the seeds in all directions.


While it resembles grass, it is actually a sedge, genus Carex. This is a big genus with over 2000 species, but the one that is both most common, and most closely resembles my specimen here, is the Blister Sedge, Carex vesicaria. This is a species that grows in cold, wet environments all across Northern Europe, Northern Asia, Canada, and south to California up in the cooler altitudes. Around here, it is one of the dominant plants in and near streams and ponds.

The dried stalks are quite durable and have reasonably good insulating value, and in Finland sedges like this were historically used to line winter boots instead of wearing socks. Supposedly, they not only would provide insulation when dry, they would also start to generate heat if wet!

2 Responses
  1. February 18, 2017

    I wonder if your insect work would have benefited from doing the plant posts first. When I look at the photos, your skill shines through, enhanced by the fact that the subjects aren’t wriggling around or trying to bite you. The plants would have simplified the task, allowing you to perfect that aspect before moving on to shooting moving objects at close range.

    Oh well. What’s done is done, I suppose. I imagine that if you found a time machine, this would not be a very profitable use for it. There would be, however, a good deal of humor t be mined from a story about the time traveler who is obsessed with something trivial and goes back in time to, say, obtain just the right buttons for his waistcoat.

  2. February 18, 2017

    Hmm. I like that idea, actually. Simon McCallister, time-traveling adventurer, goes back to Berlin in 1937. He comes back with a tea service made by an obscure artist.

    “Did you see Hitler?”

    “Oh yes, several times.”

    “Did you have your revolver?”

    “Of course! One doesn’t travel in time unarmed.”

    “Why didn’t you shoot him?”

    “Hmm. It never occurred to me.”

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