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

Carex garberi Fernald
Garber's sedge (elk sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #53036)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Carex garberi
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Species Information

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Perennial, loosely tufted herb from long rhizomes; stems 5-60 cm tall, longer 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 reduced.
Spikes 3 to 5, 4-10 mm long, the terminal spike entirely with male flowers or with a few female flowers at the the top, the lateral spikes 2 to 4, with female flowers, short-stalked; bracts subtending the female spikes short-sheathing, leaflike, the lowermost equalling or slightly surpassing the inflorescence.
Perigynia globe-shaped, 2-3 mm wide, inflated, bluish-grey-green, obscurely nerved, with a powdery surface, beakless; female scales egg-shaped and pointed to rounded at the tips, slightly shorter and narrower than the perigynia, reddish-brown, with greenish midribs and translucent margins; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.2-1.5 mm long.
Two subspecies (sometimes treated as separate species) can be distinguished:

1. Terminal spike usually with female flowers above the male flowers with at least 1/4 of the flowers female and the male portion 1.2-2.7 mm wide; lateral spikes on average with less than 20 flowers................. ssp. garberi

1. Terminal spike male, rarely with a few female flowers at the tip, 1.8-3 mm wide; lateral spikes on average with 20 or more flowers...................... ssp. bifaria (Fern.) Hult.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows, shorelines and seepage sites in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent on Vancouver Island (ssp. bifaria), frequent E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains (ssp. garberi); N to AK, YT, and NT, E to PQ, NB and NS, and S to ME, NH, PA, OH, IN, IL, MN, ND, MT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex garberi

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) 920 1342 1600
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 3
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
180 180 180
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 6 7
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: ESSF(3), MS(2), SBS(1)


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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Carex garberi subsp. bifaria (Fernald) Hultén
Carex garberi var. bifaria Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References