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

Carex exsiccata L.H. Bailey
inflated sedge (western inflated sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5824)

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Distribution of Carex exsiccata
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short-creeping rhizomes; stems 30-100 cm tall, triangular, rough below the inflorescence, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths tight, ligules longer than wide; blades 4 to 8 per stem, flat, cross-walled, the margins rolled-under, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stem, 2-6 mm wide, the lower ones reduced, persistent.
Spikes 4 to 7, the terminal 2 or 3 linear, 1.5-5 cm long, long-stalked, with male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 4, cylindrical, 2.5-7.5 cm long, with female flowers, or some with male flowers above the female flowers, short-stalked, erect to spreading, well spaced along the upper 1/2 of the stem; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaflike, sheathless, the lowest ones longer than the inflorescence.
Perigynia lanceolate, 7-10 mm long, 1.5-3 mm wide, yellowish-green to reddish- brown, somewhat inflated, smooth, shiny, strongly nerved, gradually tapered from the broad bases to long beaks, the beaks 1.5-3 mm long, bidentate, with straight teeth; female scales lanceolate to egg-shaped, pointed, narrower and shorter than the perigynia, yellowish- to reddish-brown, with 3-nerved, lighter centres and narrow, translucent margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 1.7-2.4 mm long.
Closely related to C. vesicaria.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Fens, swamps, marshes, shorelines and wet meadows in the lowland and montane zones; common in SW BC, less frequent northward; N to AK and NT, disjunct E to SK and S to CO, UT, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex exsiccata

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) 100 1058 1890
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 10
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
50 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 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: BAFA(1), BG(1), BWBS(5), CDF(6), CWH(44), ESSF(16), ICH(20), IDF(4), MS(26), SBPS(9), SBS(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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Carex vesicaria var. major Boott

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References