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

Carex nardina Fr.
spikenard sedge (spike sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #53131)

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Distribution of Carex nardina
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Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 2-15 cm tall, shorter than to slightly longer than the leaves.
Sheaths conspicuous, persistent, blunt at the mouths; blades 1 to 2 per stem, stiff, wire-like, persistent, borne on the lower 1/4 of the stem, about 0.5 mm wide.
Spikes solitary, cylindrical to egg-shaped, 5-15 mm long, erect, with both female and male flowers, the male flowers towards the tips; bractless.
Perigynia lanceolate to egg-shaped, 3.5-4.5 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, plano-convex, smooth, faintly nerved, finely toothed above, short-stalked, the beaks short, bidentate; female scales egg-shaped, about equalling the perigynia, sharp-pointed or rounded or the lowest ones awned, brownish, the midribs pale, the margins translucent; stigmas 2 or 3; achenes lens-shaped or 3-angled, about 2.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry fellfields, ridgecrests, rock outcrops, meadows and scree slopes in the alpine zone; frequent in and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare on Vancouver Island; N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to CO, UT, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex nardina

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) 39 2093 2680
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 220 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
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: AT(62), BAFA(33), BWBS(1), CMA(6), ESSF(55), IDF(2), IMA(32), MH(1), MS(2), SWB(5)


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References