Carex microptera Mack.
small-winged sedge (smallwing sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #11453)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Carex microptera
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous roots, stems triangular, 30-90 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades flat, 2-4 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem, the lowermost leaves reduced to scales.
Spikes 5 to 10 aggregated into a dense head 1-2.5 cm in diameter, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips; bracts subtending the spikes sheathless, awned.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, light green, straw-coloured, or light brown, the margins winged nearly to the bases, the upper 1/2 fringed with teeth, lightly several-nerved on the backs, with faint nerves or nerveless below, the beaks obscurely bidentate, up to 1.5 mm long, narrowly margined and toothed below; female scales elliptical, light brown, somewhat shorter and narrower than the perigynia; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 0.8-1.3 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


Ecological Framework for Carex microptera

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)
1651 565 2410
Slope Gradient (%)
19 0 65

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

143 18 335
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(5), ESSF(10), ICH(3), SBPS(1)

Habitat and Range

Bogs, swamps, lakeshores, ditches, wet meadows and moist forests in the montane to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to S YT and NT, E to SK and S to SD, NM, AZ and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex festivella Mack.
Carex limnophila F.J. Herm.
Carex macloviana subsp. festivella (Mack.) A. Löve & D. Löve
Carex macloviana var. microptera (Mack.) B. Boivin
Carex microptera var. crassinervia F.J. Herm.
Carex microptera var. limnophila (F.J. Herm.) Dorn