Carex livida (Wahlenb.) Willd.
pale sedge (livid sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #20949)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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


Carex livida var. radicaulis

Species Information

Perennial herb from slender, creeping rhizomes; stems 5-60 cm tall, arising singly or a few together, shorter or longer than the leaves.
Sheaths smooth, thin, some lower ones persisting; blades 6 to 12 per stem, bluish-green, channeled, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem, 0.5-3.5 mm wide.
Spikes 2 to 4, the terminal one linear, 1-2.5 cm long, with male flowers, the lower spikes 1 to 3, cylindrical, with female flowers, the lower more or less remote and long-stalked, the upper unstalked or short-stalked, erect; bracts subtending the lowest female spikes sheathing, leaflike, sometimes exceeding the inflorescence, the upper bracts awnlike.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 3.5-4.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, light green or whitish, densely pimpled, with 2 marginal nerves, numerous, crowded, spreading, short-stalked, tapering to the tips, beakless; female scales egg-shaped, equalling or slightly shorter than the perigynia, purplish-brown, the centres pale green, the margins wide, translucent, the tips round; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 2-2.5 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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


Ecological Framework for Carex livida

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)
378 5 1670
Slope Gradient (%)
4 0 45

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

324 2 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 2 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

BWBS(6), CDF(1), CWH(96), ESSF(3), ICH(7), MH(5), MS(2), SBS(13)

Habitat and Range

Bogs, fens, swamps and moist to wet open forests in the lowland and montane zones; common along the coast, less frequent in E BC (Rocky Mountains); disjunct circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to MA, NY, MI, WI, MN, CO, ID and OR; Iceland, N Europe and E Asia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex livida var. grayana (Dewey) Fernald
(Wahlenb.) Willd.