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

Carex backii Boott
Back's sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Margaret Krichbaum  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #83703)

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Distribution of Carex backii
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short, blackish, fibrous roots; stems 5-35 cm tall, varying in length, densely clustered, usually shorter than the leaves, narrowly winged and roughened on the angles, enlarged below the spikes.
Sheaths tight, translucent below; blades 2 to 4 per stem, deep green, flat, minutely pimpled, borne on lower 1/4 of the stem, 3-5 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 1 to 3, widely separated, from terminal to near basal, 10-15 mm long, with both male and female flowers, the male flowers towards the tips, few, unstalked, inconspicuous, 1-2 mm long, the lower flowers female, 2 to 5, unstalked to short-stalked, erect.
Perigynia broadly egg-shaped, 5-6 mm long, 1.6-2.2 mm wide, green or greenish, not inflated in upper 1/3 of body, smooth, nerveless, stalked, the beaks bidentate, stout, smooth, about 2 mm long; female scales greenish, leaflike, 0.5-2 cm long, 4-5 mm wide when flat, folded and keeled, more or less covering the perigynia, long-pointed, the lowermost the longest; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, yellowish-green to blackish, granular, 2.5-3.2 mm long.
This species is closely related to Carex saximontana.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic grasslands and alluvial forests in the montane zone; rare in WC BC; E to PQ and NB and S to ME, MA, NY, MI, WI, IA, SD, CO, UT and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex backii

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)
Slope Gradient (%)
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
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: 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 backii var. subrostrata (Bates) Dorn
Carex durifolia L.H. Bailey
Carex durifolia var. subrostrata Bates

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References