This species is named after Joseph C. Frank (1782-1835) who discovered this species (Fernald 1970).
There are only four known populations that are rather small and two historical popualtions for this wetland sedge that may be confused with Carex squarrosa or Carex typhina. New York appears to be this plant's northeastern range limit. There is the potential that this is overlooked, however Flora of North America states that this is one of "the mostly easily recognized sedge species." There are minor threats that include manipulation to hydrology, changes in water chemistry, invasive species, and direct habitat alterations.
All three extant sites were first observed in the 1990's. No work has been done at them since that time so trends at these sites are unknown and therefore overall short term trends are not known.
There are at least two historical populations which have not been seen in over 20 years. Surveys have not been conducted at these sites. So, it is unknown if these populations are still extant. The three extant sites known from New York were first documented in the 1990's. These sites may have been overlooked in the past although Carex frankii is very conspicuous and easy to identify. There is one population that appeared as a short term waif near a fill pile. Overall the long term trends are not clear but may indicate an incline.
There are minor threats that include manipulation to hydrology, changes in water chemistry, invasive species, and direct habitat alterations.
One site has some mitigation recommendations that need to be followed up on.
Surveys are needed to historical sites to determine if these sites still have extant populations of C. frankii.
Wet swales, wet fields/meadows, marshes, road sides, and adjacent to a freshwater tidal swamp (New York Natural Heritage Program 2005). Wet meadows and woods, muddy margins of lakes and ponds, roadside ditches (Ford & Reznicek 2002). Swamps, wet woods, streambanks, and ditches (Rhoads & Block 2000). Swamps and wet woods (Gleason & Cronquist 1991). Calcareous meadows, bottoms and low, rich woods (Fernald 1970).
Carex frankii occurs in a few scattered sites in central and southeastern New York. It is at the extreme north eastern edge of its range in New York.
Carex frankii occurs from New York west to Ontario, Michigan, and Nebraska south to Georgia and Oklahoma (Ford and Reznicek 2002).
Carex frankii is a tufted perennial grass-like plant. It has strap like leaves that are 2.5-11.5 mm wide. Arising from the center of the leaves at the base of the plants are stems that are 18-80 cm tall. Leaves and elongated flower/fruit clusters come off of these main stems. The flower/fruit clusters are 12-50 mm tall and erect. Fruits are densely packet on these clusters and are 3.5-6 mm long (Ford and Reznicek 2002).
Carex frankii is a cespitose perennial with leaves 2.5-11.5 mm wide. Bracts that subtend the spikes have blades much longer than the inflorescences. Culms have 3-7(-9) lateral erect spikes which are mostly pistillate with a few staminate flowers at the base and rarely at the apex. Terminal spikes are staminate or sometimes gynecandrous, pistillate, or abortive. Pistillate scales have long scabrous awns that exceed the perigynia bodies. Perigynia are 3.5-6 mm long and horizontal (Ford and Reznicek 2002).
It is easiest to identify this species when it is in immature to mature fruit.
Carex squarrosa and Carex typhina are two species also in section Squarrosae that are somewhat similar. Both have pistillate scales that are awnless or have a short awn and are shorter than the body of the perigynia. They also have gynaecandrous terminal spikes. In addition, Carex squarrosa has only 1-2 (-3) spikes per culm (Ford and Reznicek 2002).
The plants start to fruit in mid-July and are in fruit through the end of September or sometimes even later. Toward the end of this season the fruits start to shed Therefore surveys are most successful from mid-July until mid-September.
The time of year you would expect to find Frank's Sedge fruiting in New York.
Carex frankii Kunth
Carex frankii is in section Squarrosae.
Ford, B. A. and A.A. Reznicek. 2002. Carex Linnaeus sect. Squarrosae J. Carey. Pages 518-519 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (editors), Flora of North America, North of Mexico, Volume 23, Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Cyperaceae. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA. 608pp + xxiv.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.
Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Reschke, Carol. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 96 pp. plus xi.
Rhoads, Ann F. and Timothy A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.
Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York
Information for this guide was last updated on: February 13, 2006
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. Online Conservation Guide for Carex frankii. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/franks-sedge/. Accessed June 6, 2023.