General: Perennial, loosely tufted herb from long rhizomes; stems 5-60 cm tall, longer than the leaves.
Leaves: Sheaths tight; blades 3 to 6 per stem, flat, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem, 2-4 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Flowers: Spikes 3 to 5, 4-10 mm long, the terminal spike entirely with male flowers or with a few female flowers at the the top, the lateral spikes 2 to 4, with female flowers, short-stalked; bracts subtending the female spikes short-sheathing, leaflike, the lowermost equalling or slightly surpassing the inflorescence.
Fruits: Perigynia globe-shaped, 2-3 mm wide, inflated, bluish-grey-green, obscurely nerved, with a powdery surface, beakless; female scales egg-shaped and pointed to rounded at the tips, slightly shorter and narrower than the perigynia, reddish-brown, with greenish midribs and translucent margins; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.2-1.5 mm long.
Notes: Two subspecies (sometimes treated as separate species) can be distinguished:
1. Terminal spike usually with female flowers above the male flowers with at least 1/4 of the flowers female and the male portion 1.2-2.7 mm wide; lateral spikes on average with less than 20 flowers................. ssp. garberi
1. Terminal spike male, rarely with a few female flowers at the tip, 1.8-3 mm wide; lateral spikes on average with 20 or more flowers...................... ssp. bifaria (Fern.) Hult.
Wet meadows, shorelines and seepage sites in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent on Vancouver Island (ssp. bifaria), frequent E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains (ssp. garberi); N to AK, YT, and NT, E to PQ, NB and NS, and S to ME, NH, PA, OH, IN, IL, MN, ND, MT and CA.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-04-11 8:38:22 PM
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