Jackson County is the northeasternmost county of Alabama, U.S.A., and falls entirely in the southern portion of the Appalachian Plateaus physiographic province. Based on multiple years of fieldwork, herbarium work, and review of online (digitized) specimens, this study presents the diversity, habitats, biogeography, and conservation status of Carex in Jackson County. We document 90 Carex taxa from Jackson County by voucher specimens deposited in multiple herbaria. This value exceeds the number of taxa known from other, similar-sized regions in the southern part of the Appalachian Plateaus. Carex albicans var. emmonsii is a new state record and is known in Alabama only from Jackson County. We encountered high numbers of misidentifications among specimens collected prior to this study and exclude nine taxa previously reported from Jackson County that are based on misidentifications. Carex plants grow in a great number of habitats in Jackson County, with two hosting the greatest number of taxa: mature, wet-mesic, deciduous, floodplain forests on clays and clay loams; and mature, mesic, calcium-rich, deciduous, upland forests on loams. Jackson County is a nexus for both southeastern endemics and taxa occurring at or near their southern limits. Thirteen of the Carex taxa are rare in Alabama and likely of conservation concern in the state. This study contributes fundamental knowledge that makes sedge diversity, ecology, geography, and conservation better known, and is especially important for revealing a significant center of Carex diversity in North America.
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Vol. 184 • No. 1