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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #19685)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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.


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)
1894 16 2640
Slope Gradient (%)
17 0 220

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

213 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 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

AT(92), BAFA(39), CMA(57), CWH(3), ESSF(657), ICH(1), IDF(1), IMA(61), MH(106), MS(2), SBS(2), SWB(3)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia