General: Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems slender, more or less solid, triangular in cross-section, usually longer than the leaves, (8) 15-50 cm tall.
Leaves: Sheaths straw-coloured, more or less persistent, closed; blades several, on the stem, the lowest more or less reduced, often to mere scales, the others slender and elongate, folded or triangular in cross-section to thick and flat, 0.3-1 mm wide.
Flowers: Inflorescence of 1 to 3, compact, axillary or terminal heads, mostly 5-15 mm wide, the terminal head larger than the others, each head with several to many spikes, the spikes white, becoming pale brown, often with a whitish or pinkish tinge, mostly 3.5-5 mm long, 2- to 3-flowered; involucral bracts longer or shorter than the inflorescence, 0.5-6 cm long.
Fruits: Scales egg-shaped or lanceolate, pale brown, translucent on the margins, spirally arranged within the spikes; perianth bristles 10 to 12, well-developed, minutely finely barbed backwards, surpassing the achene bodies and sometimes also the tubercles; achenes lens-shaped, 1.5-2.5 mm long; broadest above the middle, tapering to narrow, nearly stalked bases, capped by elongate, narrow awl-like tubercles, about 1/3 to 1/2 as long as the achenes.
Bogs and fens in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in and W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in BC south of 56degreeN, rare in SC BC; circumpolar, N to SW AK, E to NF and S to ME, MA, NC, IN, IL, MN, ID and CA; West Indies, Eurasia.
A very shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar sedge [transcontinental in North America (absent in Alberta and Manitoba)]. Occurs on wet to very wet, nitrogenpoor soils (Mor humus forms) within boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing precipitation. Scattered in non-forested, semiterrestrial communities on water-collecting sites; occasional on acidic sands. An oxylophytic species characteristic of nutrient-poor wetlands.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2020-07-12 6:03:31 AM
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