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

Carex echinata Murray subsp. echinata
star sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14109)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Carex echinata subsp. echinata
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Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 10-60 cm tall, about equalling the leaves, roughened above.
Sheaths tight, more or less red-dotted on the fronts; blades 2 to 4 per stem, flat or channelled, smooth, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stems, 0.7-3 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 2 to 7, the terminal one unstalked, 4-10 mm long, with both male and female flowers, the female flowers towards the tips, the lower spikes 1 to 4, ascending, remote, 5- to 15-flowered, with female flowers, short-stalked; bracts subtending the female spikes short to prolonged and hairlike, the latter up to 2 cm long, bladeless, the upper bracts reduced and scalelike.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 2.5-4 mm long, 1-1.4 mm wide, plano-convex, reflexed, appressed, or spreading, greenish-yellow to brownish, sharp-edged, with smooth margins, finely-nerved to nerveless, the beaks 1-1.5 mm long, inconspicuously bidentate; female scales egg-shaped and rounded or pointed to awned at the tips, shorter than the perigynia, yellowish-brown to chestnut brown, with greenish midribs, the margins and tips broad, bright white or narrow, opaque or dull whitish; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, sharp-pointed, 1.4-2 mm long.
Two varieties are recognized for BC :

1. Female scales rounded, chestnut brown, the margins and tips broad, bright white.............. ssp. phyllomanica (W. Boott) Reznicek

1. Female scales pointed to awned, yellowish-brown, the margins and tips narrow, opaque or dull whitish............... ssp. echinata

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs and wet sedge meadows, open forests or sandy lakeshores and streamsides in the lowland and montane zones; ssp. echinata - frequent in S coastal BC, rare E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains N to 54degreeN; ssp. phyllomanica - common in coastal BC; ssp. echinata - circumpolar, N to AK (Aleutian Islands), E to NF and S to MA, PA, SC, IN, IA, ND, CO, UT, NV and CA; Eurasia; ssp. phyllomanica - N to AK and S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex echinata ssp. echinata

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) 207 422 750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 1
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
135 0 225
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 6 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: CWH(11)


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

Carex angustior Mack.
Carex angustior var. gracilenta R.T. Clausen & Wahl
Carex cephalantha (L.H. Bailey) E.P. Bicknell
Carex echinata var. angustata (Carey) Bailey
Carex hawaiiensis H. St. John
Carex josselynii (Fern.) Mackenzie ex Pease
Carex laricina Mack. ex Bright
Carex leersii Willd.
Carex muricata L.
Carex muricata var. angustata (Carey) Carey ex Gleason
Carex muricata var. cephalantha (Bailey) Wieg. & Eames
Carex muricata var. laricina (Mackenzie ex Bright) Gleason
Carex ormantha (Fern.) Mackenzie
Carex phyllomanica var. angustata (Carey) Boivin
Carex phyllomanica var. ormantha (Fern.) Boivin
Carex stellulata
Carex svensonis Skottsb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References