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

Carex nigricans C.A. Mey.
black alpine sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #19685)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Carex nigricans
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Species Information

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Perennial, loosely tufted herb from stout, creeping rhizomes; stems 10-35 cm tall, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths tight, bladeless below; blades 4 to 9 per stem, flat or channeled, borne on the lower 1/4 of the stem, 1-3 mm wide.
Spikes solitary, cylindrical to egg-shaped, 8-20 mm long, erect, with both female and male flowers, the male flowers towards the tips, rarely the spikes with all male or all female flowers; bractless.
Perigynia lanceolate to egg-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, appressed but spreading and reflexed at maturity, smooth, nerveless, long-stalked, the beaks short, bidentate; female scales lanceolate to egg-shaped, much shorter than the perigynia, deciduous, pointed to rounded, dark brown, the midribs pale, the margins thin; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 1.5-2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, stream margins and snowbed sites in the montane to alpine zones; common in BC south of 54degreeN, less frequent northward; N to AK, E to SW AB and S to CO, UT and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex nigricans

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) 16 1894 2640
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 220
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 213 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 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: AT(92), BAFA(39), CMA(57), CWH(3), ESSF(657), ICH(1), IDF(1), IMA(61), MH(106), MS(2), SBS(2), SWB(3)


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 alpine tundra & boreal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References