E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Carex aurea Nutt.
golden sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #79515)

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Distribution of Carex aurea
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from long rhizomes; stems 5-35 cm tall, arising singly or a few together, usually spreading, shorter than the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades 3 to 6 per stem, flat, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem, 2-4 mm wide, the lower ones slightly reduced.
Spikes 3 to 5, the terminal spike stalked, 4-10 mm long, with male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 4, erect, with female flowers, stalked, the stalks up to 4 cm long; bracts subtending the female spikes sheathless, 3-6 cm long, leaflike, the lower over-topping the inflorescence.
Perigynia globe-shaped, 2-3 mm long, 1.5-2.5 mm wide, inflated, bright orange, coarsely ribbed, with a powdery surface, beakless; female scales egg-shaped and pointed to rounded at the tips, shorter and narrower than the perigynia and spreading, reddish-brown, with greenish midribs and translucent margins; stigmas 2, rarely 3; achenes lens-shaped, 1.2-1.4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet fens, bogs, gravel bars, lakeshores and steambanks in all vegetation zones; frequent in BC in and east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, OH, IN, IL, TX, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex aurea

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 75 1143 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 57
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 278 342
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(1), BWBS(7), CWH(1), ESSF(9), ICH(6), IDF(15), MS(9), PP(3), SBPS(14), SBS(8), SWB(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References