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

Carex saxatilis L.
russet sedge (rock sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11465)

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Distribution of Carex saxatilis
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Carex saxatilis ssp. laxa

Species Information

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Perennial herb from short-creeping rhizomes; stems 10-90 cm tall, arising singly, triangular, rough below the inflorescence, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths tight; ligules as long as wide; blades 4 to 8 per stem, flat, the margins rolled-under, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stem, 2-12 mm wide, the lower ones reduced, persistent.
Spikes 4 to 7, the terminal 1 to 3 linear, 1.5-5 cm long, long-stalked, with many male flowers, the lower 1 to 4 spikes cylindrical, 1.5-5 cm long, with female flowers, or some with male flowers above the female flowers, short-stalked, erect to spreading or nodding; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaflike, sheathless or short-sheathing, the lowest longer than the inflorescence.
Perigynia elliptical to broadly egg-shaped, 3.5-5 mm long, 1-1.2 mm wide, yellowish-green or brown to purplish-black, somewhat inflated, smooth, shiny, 2-ribbed, the bases round, short-stalked, the beaks short, 0.1-0.3 mm long, entire or nearly so; femal

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, shorelines and wet meadows in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; frequent throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to MA, CO, UT and WA; N Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex saxatilis

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) 540 1422 2330
Slope Gradient (%) 0 3 53
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 311 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 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(6), BWBS(3), ESSF(35), MH(4), MS(8), SBPS(1), SBS(13), SWB(2)


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 ambusta Boott
Carex miliaris Michx.
Carex physocarpa J. Presl & C. Presl
Carex rhomalea (Fernald) Mack.
Carex rotundata var. compacta (R. Br. ex Dewey) B. Boivin
Carex saxatilis subsp. laxa (Trautv.) Kalela
Carex saxatilis var. major Olney
Carex saxatilis var. miliaris (Michx.) L.H. Bailey
Carex saxatilis var. rhomalea Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References