Carex atrosquama Mack.
black-scaled sedge (lesser blackscale sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #79554)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Carex atrosquama
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted herb from short rhizomes; stems 15-80 cm tall, much exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths reddish towards the bases; blades flat, 2-5 mm wide, the lower ones not much reduced.
Terminal spike with both female and male flowers, the female ones towards the tips, the lateral spikes female, short-stalked and upright to spreading, 1-2.5 cm long; bracts subtending the spikes short- sheathing, leaflike, about equalling the spikes.
Perigynia elliptical, 2.7-3.5 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, straw-coloured often with greenish margins, nerveless and pimpled, the beaks short, less than 0.4 mm long; female scales broadly lanceolate, shorter than and about as wide as the perigynia, reddish-black, roughly pimpled, with short-pointed tips; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, egg-shaped, granular, 1.2-1.4 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Carex atrosquama

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)
1799 1008 2410
Slope Gradient (%)
24 0 68

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

229 24 306
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(2), BAFA(3), ESSF(5), ICH(2)

Habitat and Range

Moist to mesic slopes, meadows and thickets in the subalpine and alpine zones; common in BC in and east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, YT and NT, E to SW AB and S to CO, UT, ID and OR.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex apoda Clokey
Carex atrata subsp. atrosquama (Mack.) Hultén
Carex atrata var. atrosquama (Mack.) Cronquist