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.
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), ESSF(15), ICH(7), MS(4), SBPS(6), SBS(7)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
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.