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

Carex magellanica subsp. irrigua Lam. (Wahlenb.) Hultén
poor sedge (boreal bog sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #15739)

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Distribution of Carex magellanica subsp. irrigua
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short or long rhizomes, the roots yellowish-woolly; stems 10-80 cm tall, longer than the leaves, reddish-brown at the bases.
Sheaths thin, red-dotted below; ligules conspicuous; blades 3 to 9 per stem, flat, with slightly rolled-under margins, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stem, 2-4 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes 3 to 5, the terminal one linear, 4-12 mm long, long-stalked, with male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 4, with female flowers or sometimes with a few male flowers below, cylindrical, 4-22 mm long, 4-8 mm wide, separate, long-stalked, nodding; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaflike, 2-10 cm long, sheathless or short-sheathing, longer than the inflorescence, the others reduced.
Perigynia broadly egg-shaped to broadly elliptical, 2.5-3.5 mm long, 1.3-1.8 mm wide, pale green, somewhat compressed, densely pimpled, conspicuously few-nerved, short-stalked, beakless or short-beaked, the beaks 0.5-1 mm long; female scales lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, long-pointed or sometimes short-awned, usually longer and narrower than the perigynia, light to dark brown, with lighter, green centres and brown margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, stalked, smooth, 1.4-1.9 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs, fens and swamps in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; frequent throughout BC except absent on the Queen Charlotte Islands; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NJ, PA, OH, IN, IL, IA, MN, CO, UT, NV and WA; Greenland, Iceland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex magellanica ssp. irrigua

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) 95 1206 2080
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 20
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 100 354
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 6 8
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: BWBS(3), ESSF(15), ICH(7), MS(4), SBPS(6), SBS(7)


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 irrigua
Carex magellanica var. irrigua (Wahlenb.) B.S.P.
Carex paupercula Michx.
Carex paupercula var. brevisquama Fern.
Carex paupercula var. irrigua (Wahlenb.) Fern.
Carex paupercula var. pallens Fern.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References