The day of the Sedge workshop dawned dry for a change! Thirteen CAN members met at Rixton Claypits to learn more about the Cyperaceae, a plant family which many people find challenging. Dr. Paul Ashton from Edge Hill University led the workshop. Paul is an experienced botanist with a passion for sedges, amongst other groups!
The morning was spent outdoors on the reserve, learning the difference between sedges, rushes and grasses and then discovering the different inflorescence arrangements that sedges have. Attendees were encouraged to gather a number of different sedges. The Cyperaceae includes mainly sedges belonging to the Carex genus but it also includes other genera such as Isolepsis (Club-rushes), Eriophorum (Cotton-grasses) and Eleocharis (Spike-rushes). Examples of each of these were seen on the reserve and the differences between them discussed.
The afternoon weather turned to heavy showers but the group remained dry as we got to grips with sedge identification using microscopes. Paul took a couple of common sedges through the key then encouraged everyone to carry on identifying sedges found on the reserve at their own pace. Paul also brought in a number of sedges and Andy Harmer brought in some from Rocksavage Nature Reserve, so the group had plenty to go at! Examples of species the group looked at included Carex remota, Carex rostrata, Carex flacca, Carex obtrobae, Carex sylvatica and Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa.
The attendees all enjoyed being immersed in sedges for the day and left feeling a lot more confident about sedge ID!