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

Carex athrostachya Olney
slender-beaked sedge (slenderbeak sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26335)

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Distribution of Carex athrostachya
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous rootstocks; stems 15-100 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades flat, 1.5-4 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stems.
Spikes 4 to 10, aggregated into a 1- to 2-cm long head, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips; bracts subtending the spikes sheathless, at least one of the lower ones conspicuously prolonged and bristlelike, 2-10 cm long, the others reduced or inconspicuous.
Perigynia lanceolate or narrowly egg-shaped, 3-5 mm long, 1.2-1.8 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, lightly several-nerved on both sides or nerveless below, the beaks bidentate, less than 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, 1.1-1.6 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows and open forests in the lowland, montane and steppe zones; common in BC south of 55degreeN, rare northward and along the coast, absent from the Queen Charlotte Islands; N to AK, E to MB and S to TX, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex athrostachya

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) 582 1608 2682
Slope Gradient (%) 0 22 86
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
5 96 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 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(2), BG(1), ESSF(12), IDF(8), IMA(3), MS(2), SBPS(3), SBS(1), SWB(1)


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References