Perennial, tufted herb from slender, creeping, branched rhizomes; stems (10) 20-50 cm tall, clustered, usually longer than the leaves, reddish-brown tinged at the bases.
Sheaths tight, breaking into threads at the bases; blades flat, channeled towards the base, 5 to 10 per stem, the margins somewhat turned in, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem, 1-3 mm wide, the lower ones slightly reduced.
Spikes 2 to 4, the terminal one 1-2.5 cm long, the stalks 0.8-10 mm long, with many male flowers, the lower spikes 1 to 3, with female flowers, unstalked to short-stalked, erect; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaflike, sheathless or short-sheathing, shorter than the inflorescence, the others short, inconspicuous.
Perigynia broadly egg-shaped to nearly globe-shaped, 2.5-4.5 mm long, 2-2.3 mm wide, dull green to straw-coloured, convex, finely short-hairy, with 2 prominent marginal nerves, the bases short-stalked, the beaks 0.5-1.5 mm long, bidentate; female scales egg-shaped, rounded to tapered, slightly longer to somewhat shorter than the perigynia, straw-coloured to brownish, with lighter midribs, with translucent margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, with convex sides above, smooth, 1.8-2.5 mm long.
Two subspecies occur in BC :
1. Lower female spike elongate, short-stalked, its bract often short-sheathing; stalks of the male spike 4-10 mm long.................... ssp. inops
1. Lower female spike short, unstalked, its bract sheathless; stalks of the male spike 0.8-5 mm long.................... ssp. heliophila (Mack.) Crins
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.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|BWBS(3), CDF(32), ESSF(2), IDF(3), SBS(1)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex pensylvanica Lam.
Carex pensylvanica var. vespertina