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

Carex tenera Dewey
tender sedge (quill sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #29975)

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Distribution of Carex tenera
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 20-70 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades flat, 1.5-2.5 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem.
Spikes 4 to 10 in a long, loose inflorescence, 2.5-5 cm long, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips; bracts subtending the spikes sheathless, reduced, inconspicuous.
Perigynia lanceolate or narrowly egg-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, 1.5-1.8 mm wide, light green to straw-coloured or brownish, more or less flattened, the margins winged nearly to the bases, the upper 1/2 fringed with teeth, strongly nerved on both sides, the beaks shallowly bidentate, about 1 mm long, narrowly margined and toothed below; female scales egg-shaped, brownish with green centres and translucent margins, somewhat shorter and narrower than the perigynia, short-awned; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.2-1.4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, shorelines and open forests in the steppe and montane zones; rare throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; E to PQ, NB and NS and S to ME, MA, NC, GA, AL, AR, NE, and NM.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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 tenera var. echinodes (Fernald) Wiegand

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References