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

Carex hendersonii L.H. Bailey
Henderson's sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #53044)

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Distribution of Carex hendersonii
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short, fibrous roots; stems 50-110 cm tall, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths loose, 2-lobed at the tips; ligules 0.8-2.5 cm long; blades 3 to 5 per stem, channeled, borne on the lower 1/2 of stem, 6-15 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 3 to 5, remote, 1-4 cm long, borne on upper 1/2 of the stem, long-stalked, erect to spreading, the terminal one linear, 1.5-3 cm long, with male flowers, the lower 2 to 4 spikes narrowly cylindrical, 1-4 cm long, with female flowers; bracts subtending the female spikes long-sheathing, leaflike, up to 15 cm long, longer than the spikes.
Perigynia broadly lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, 4-6.5 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, few, green, slightly inflated, smooth, shiny, many-nerved, prominently keeled, spreading or ascending, short-stalked, tapered to both ends, the beaks poorly defined; female scales broadly egg-shaped, much shorter than the perigynia, reddish-brown, the centres 3-nerved, pale green, the margins white-translucent, the tips round to pointed; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 2.7-3.2 mm long.

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

Moist forests in the lowland zone; locally frequent on SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the adjacent mainland; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex hendersonii

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) 12 237 579
Slope Gradient (%) 0 7 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
30 202 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 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: CDF(8), CWH(109)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American sedge distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils, often with a fluctuating groundwater table. Sporadic to abundant (in broad-leaved stands) on water­receiving and water-collecting sites (edaphically comparable to Carex deweyana); its occurrence decreases with elevation, latitude, and continentality. Usually associated with Polystichum munitum and Tiarella trifoliata. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References