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

Carex microptera Mack.
small-winged sedge (smallwing sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11453)

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Distribution of Carex microptera
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous roots, stems triangular, 30-90 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades flat, 2-4 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem, the lowermost leaves reduced to scales.
Spikes 5 to 10 aggregated into a dense head 1-2.5 cm in diameter, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips; bracts subtending the spikes sheathless, awned.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, light green, straw-coloured, or light brown, the margins winged nearly to the bases, the upper 1/2 fringed with teeth, lightly several-nerved on the backs, with faint nerves or nerveless below, the beaks obscurely bidentate, up to 1.5 mm long, narrowly margined and toothed below; female scales elliptical, light brown, somewhat shorter and narrower than the perigynia; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 0.8-1.3 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

Bogs, swamps, lakeshores, ditches, wet meadows and moist forests in the montane to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to S YT and NT, E to SK and S to SD, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex microptera

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) 565 1651 2410
Slope Gradient (%) 0 19 65
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
18 143 335
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
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: AT(5), ESSF(10), ICH(3), SBPS(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 festivella Mack.
Carex limnophila F.J. Herm.
Carex macloviana subsp. festivella (Mack.) A. Löve & D. Löve
Carex macloviana var. microptera (Mack.) B. Boivin
Carex microptera var. crassinervia F.J. Herm.
Carex microptera var. limnophila (F.J. Herm.) Dorn

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References