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

Carex disperma Dewey
soft-leaved sedge (softleaf sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14554)

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

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Perennial, loosely tufted herb from rhizomes and elongated, light brown stolons; stems 15-60 cm tall, slender and arching, shorter than or about as long as the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades numerous, borne on the lower part of the stems, 0.7-1.2 mm wide, flat.
Spikes 5 to 10 in a long inflorescence, separated, the uppermost closer together, egg-shaped, 1- to 6-flowered, about 5 mm long, ascending, with both female and male flowers, the female flowers towards the base, the male flowers inconspicuous; bracts reduced, only the lowermost bract often awnlike, about 0.5-2 cm long.
Perigynia elliptical, 2.2-3 mm long, 0.8-1.5 mm wide, light green, minutely whitish-dotted, biconvex, smooth, 1- or 2-ribbed, beakless; female scales egg-shaped, covering 1/2 of the perigynia, pointed, green, with green midribs; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.5-1.7 mm long, filling the perigynia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Bogs, fens, swamps, wet meadows and moist to wet forests in all but the alpine zone; common in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare in coastal BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NJ, PA, MN, SD, UT, AZ, NM and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex disperma

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) 10 1100 2335
Slope Gradient (%) 0 3 110
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 11 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 6 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: BG(1), BWBS(74), CWH(6), ESSF(148), ICH(153), IDF(95), MH(1), MS(146), PP(4), SBPS(73), SBS(225), 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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Carex tenella

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References