Carex capillaris L.
hairlike sedge (hair sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #79520)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 5-20 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight, brownish to straw-coloured; blades flat, 1-3 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem.
Spikes 2 to 5, the terminal one long-stalked, 4-10 mm long, with male flowers, the lower 2 to 4 spikes with female flowers, long-stalked, spreading or nodding; bracts subtending the female spikes tubular-sheathed, leaflike, the lower bracts longer than the spikes and their stalks, the upper one reduced.
Perigynia lanceolate to egg-shaped, 2-3.3 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, green to greenish-brown, convex, smooth or fringed above with teeth, 2-nerved, short-stalked, the beaks bidentate, 0.3-0.6 mm long; female scales egg-shaped, rounded to pointed, brownish, with green centres and translucent margins, shorter but often wider than the perigynia; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 1.2-1.5 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.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


Ecological Framework for Carex capillaris

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)
1547 8 2455
Slope Gradient (%)
8 0 65

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

300 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
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(26), BAFA(8), BWBS(14), CWH(1), ESSF(36), ICH(4), IDF(2), IMA(4), MS(19), SBPS(5), SBS(9), SWB(11)

Habitat and Range

Moist to wet shorelines, bogs, fens, streambanks and seepage slopes in the montane to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to Labr. and NF and S to ME, NY, MI, WI, MN, SD, NM, UT, NV and OR; Greenland, Iceland, Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex boecheriana A. Löve, D. Löve & Raymond
Carex capillaris subsp. chlorostachys (Stev.) A. Löve, D. Löve & Raymond
Carex capillaris subsp. krausei (Boeckeler) Böcher
Carex capillaris subsp. porsildiana (Polunin) Böcher
Carex capillaris subsp. robustior (Drejer ex Lange) Böcher
Carex capillaris var. elongata Olney ex Fernald
Carex capillaris var. fuscidula (Krecz.) A. Löve & D. Löve
Carex capillaris var. krausei (Boeckeler) Crantz
Carex capillaris var. major Blytt
Carex chlorostachys
Carex fuscidula
Carex krausei subsp. porsildiana (Polunin) A. Löve, D. Löve & Raymond