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

Carex leptalea Wahlenb.
bristle-stalked sedge (bristlystalked sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #60820)

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Distribution of Carex leptalea
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Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted herb from slender rhizomes; stems 15-70 cm tall, slightly shorter to longer than the leaves.
Sheaths tight, concave to blunt at the mouths; blades 2 to 3 per stem, flat or channeled, borne on the lower 1/4 of the stem, about 0.7-1.5 mm wide.
Perigynia few, cylindrical or elliptical, 2.5-5 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, yellowish-green to pale green, many nerved, long-stalked, the tips blunt, more or less entire, beakless; male scales rounded to pointed at the tips, fused below, appressed, yellowish
Two subspecies can be distinguished in BC:

1. Female scales rounded; perigynia 2.5-3.5 mm long; E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains.................. ssp. leptalea

1. Female scales long-pointed to awned; perigynia 3.5-5 mm long; W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains................. ssp. pacifica Calder & Taylor

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, swamps, shorelines and fens in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC west (ssp. pacifica) and east (ssp. leptalea) of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; ssp. pacifica - N to AK and YT; ssp. leptalea - N to AK, YT, NT, E to NF and S to ME, PA, NC, TN, AR, OK, NM, UT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex leptalea

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) 10 870 1915
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 65
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 85 350
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: BWBS(20), CWH(30), ESSF(16), ICH(20), IDF(7), MS(17), PP(1), SBPS(14), SBS(50), 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 cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Carex leptalea var. tayloris B. Boivin, nom. inq.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References