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

Carex circinata C.A. Mey.
coiled sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Hans Roemer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25704)

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Distribution of Carex circinata
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short-creeping rhizomes; stems 5-25 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths light brown, the lower ones bladeless; blades several on each stem, crowded toward the bases, thread-like, the margins in-rolled, 0.5-1 mm wide, typically curving or arching.
Spikes solitary, lanceolate to cylindrical, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 2-4 mm wide, erect, with both female and male flowers, the male flowers towards the tips; bractless.
Perigynia few, lanceolate, 4.5-6 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, erect to ascending, reddish-tinged, obscurely compressed-triangular, smooth, nerved, 2 of these prominent, stalked, narrowly wing-margined, the beaks bidentate, about 1 mm long; female scales lanceolate, slightly shorter than the perigynia, the lower ones awn-tipped, the upper ones round-tipped, with broad, green or straw-coloured midribs and brown margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, smooth, 1.3-1.7 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist cliffs, ridges and talus slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent in south-coastal BC, frequent in the Queen Charlotte Islands and adjacent mainland, rare in the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK and S to NW WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex circinata

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) 10 1188 2541
Slope Gradient (%) 0 22 55
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
160 241 350
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 5 7
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), CMA(1), CWH(3), IMA(1), SBPS(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

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General References