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

Carex utriculata Boott
beaked sedge (bottle sedge; Northwest Territory sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ewan Anderson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14357)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Carex utriculata
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short-creeping rhizomes; stems 30-120 cm tall, triangular, smooth, except slightly rough below the inflorescence, slightly longer than the leaves.
Sheaths tight; ligules as long as wide to slightly wider than long; blades 4 to 8 per stem, cross-walled, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stem, 5-15 mm wide, flat, the margins rolled-under, the lower ones reduced, persistent.
Spikes 4 to 7, the terminal 2 or 3 linear, 1.5-5 cm long, long-stalked, with many male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 4, cylindrical, 2.5-7.5 cm long, with female flowers, or some with male flowers above the female flowers, long-stalked, the lowermost drooping; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaflike, sheathless, the lowest longer than the inflorescence.
Perigynia elliptical, 5-9 mm long, 1.7-3 mm wide, yellowish-green to reddish-brown, somewhat inflated, smooth, shiny, strongly nerved, contracted into long beaks 1.5-3 mm long, the beaks bidentate with straight teeth; female scales lanceolate to egg-shaped, pointed, narrower and shorter than the perigynia, yellowish- to reddish-brown, with 3-nerved, lighter centres and narrow, translucent margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 1.7-2.4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Swamps, marshes, fens, pools, shorelines and wet meadows in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common throughout BC except absent on the Queen Charlotte Islands; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, VA, TN, IA, NE, CO and CA; Greenland, Iceland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex utriculata

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 1131 2420
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
2 279 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 7 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: AT(2), BG(4), BWBS(56), CDF(8), CWH(41), ESSF(224), ICH(132), IDF(236), MH(3), MS(176), PP(8), SBPS(113), SBS(174), SWB(5)


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 inflata var. utriculata (Boott) Druce
Carex rhynchophysa Fisch., C.A. Mey. & Avé-Lall.
Carex rostrata var. utriculata (Boott) L.H. Bailey

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References