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

Carex pansa L.H. Bailey
sand-dune sedge (sanddune sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Carex pansa
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from long, creeping rhizomes; stems 5-30 cm tall, arising singly, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths green, the lower ones bladeless, persisting, darkened; blades 3 to 5 per stem, crowded toward the base, flat or channeled at the base, the margins sometimes in-rolled and roughened, 1-3 mm wide.
Spikes 6 to 15, clustered into an egg-shaped, 1.5- to 2.5-cm long head, indistinguishable, 1-1.2 cm long, unstalked, with both female and male flowers (rarely all female flowers), the few male flowers towards the tips; bracts of the spikes inconspicuous and much like the scales.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, appressed to ascending, yellowish-brown or brownish-black, biconvex, smooth, few to several nerved below, short-stalked, the beaks bidentate, finely-toothed, about 1 mm long; female scales egg-shaped, as long as and slightly wider than the perigynia, awn-tipped, light to dark brown, the margins translucent; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, smooth, 1.7-2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Sandy beaches, dunes and rocky shores in the lowland zone; rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Vancouver Island and Hornby Island; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex pansa

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) 430 631 800
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 15
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
270 270 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 7 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: BWBS(1), MH(1), SBS(1)


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 arenicola F. Schmidt
Carex arenicola subsp. pansa (L.H. Bailey) T. Koyama & Calder

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References