On April 9th 2011 we visited a site near Ammanford where Carex montana has been recorded in the past and where we had been shown leaves by BSBI experts in a previous year in July. Now the challenge was to find it in flower, unaided, in the field! Before leaving the house I went to the potful of Carex montana which we have in the garden, just to stroke it and remember its jizz. My diary entry reads: “The new shoots are quite spiky but not too stiff and the flowers are early and very dark coloured. Last year’s dead leaves are very light brown or buff, quite soft but tough”.
In the field it was not so easy! There were several sedge species coming into flower and Richard hopefully suggested that a few plants could be C. montana but I was not convinced and refused to commit myself until he showed me one that looked absolutely right – the spikiness of the new‐shoots give it away! Then I was able to find a few more – it definitely helped to have become familiar with it by growing it.
‘Spiky’ new shoots of Carex montana amongst previous year’s leaves. Photo Richard Pryce