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

Trichophorum cespitosum (L.) Hartm.
tufted clubrush
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Cumming  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3577)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Trichophorum cespitosum
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots, sometimes from short, freely rooting rhizomes that connect the tufts; stems quite circular in cross-section, tapered, smooth, 10-40 cm tall.
More or less reduced, scalelike, light brown at the base of the stem with a single, more normally-developed leaf a little above the base, this leaf with typical sheath, but somewhat abnormal blade; sheaths straw-coloured to brownish, not cross-wrinkled; blades slender, short, 4-6 mm long.
Spikes solitary, terminal, medium to light brown, 4-6 mm long, 2- to 4-flowered; involucral bracts lacking.
Scales 2 or 3, yellowish-brown, egg-shaped, pointed to minutely abruptly sharp-pointed, empty at the base of the spikes (these often deciduous as the spikes approach maturity), the lowermost of these scales about as long as the spikes, with prominent, broad, blunt-tipped awns, 1-3 mm long and sometimes shortly surpassing the spikes; perianth bristles 6, white, or brownish near the tips, very fragile, hairlike, usually surpassing the achenes, but scarcely if at all, surpassing the scales; achenes brown, 3-angled, narrowly egg-shaped, about 1.5 mm long, abruptly sharp-pointed.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs, fens and wet meadows in all vegetation zones; frequent throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, NC, GA, TN, MN, CO, ID and OR; Greenland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Trichophorum cespitosum

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) 6 833 2380
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 56
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 354 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 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: AT(1), BWBS(7), CMA(4), CWH(141), ESSF(89), ICH(36), IDF(1), IMA(2), MH(32), MS(10), SBS(17), SWB(5)

Ecological Indicator Information

A very shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar sedge (transcontinental in North America). Occurs predominantly on wet to very wet, nitrogen-poor soils (Mor humus forms) in boreal and cool temperate climates; their occurrence increases with increasing latitude. Sporadic in non-forested, semi-terrestrial communities on water-collecting sites; usually associated with Sphagnum species. An oxylophytic species characteristic of nutrient-poor wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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

Baeothryon caespitosum (L.) A. Dietr., orth. var.
Baeothryon cespitosum (L.) A. Dietr.
Scirpus caespitosus L., orth. var.
Scirpus caespitosus var. austriacus (Pall.) Asch. & Graebn., orth. var.
Scirpus caespitosus var. callosus Bigelow, orth. var.
Scirpus caespitosus var. delicatulus Fernald, orth. var.
Scirpus cespitosus L.
Scirpus cespitosus var. austriacus (Pall.) Asch. & Graebn.
Scirpus cespitosus var. callosus Bigelow
Scirpus cespitosus var. delicatulus Fernald
Trichophorum caespitosum (L.) Hartm., orth. var.
Trichophorum caespitosum var. callosum (Bigelow) Mohlenbr., orth. var.
Trichophorum cespitosum subsp. cespitosum

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References