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

Carex pauciflora Lightf.
few-flowered sedge (fewflower sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20951)

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Distribution of Carex pauciflora
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes; stems solitary, arising singly or a few together, stiff, erect, 10-60 cm tall, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths brownish, tight; blades 1 to 3, flat or channeled, 0.5-1.8 mm wide, smooth or sometimes with roughened margins, ascending, the tips long-pointed.
Spikes solitary, 0.5-1.5 cm long, 0.5-1.2 mm wide, with both female and male flowers, the few erect male flowers towards the tips, the lower 1 to 6 flowers female; bractless.
Perigynia few, narrowly lanceolate, 6-7.5 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, pale green, becoming brownish-green or straw-coloured, soon reflexed, nearly round in cross-section, membranaceous, smooth, finely-nerved, unstalked, the beaks not differentiated from the bodies; female scales lanceolate, short-awned, as wide as or slightly wider and shorter than the perigynia, brownish, early deciduous, with greener midstripes, the margins often translucent; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, 1.5-2.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs and fens in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; common along the coast and in EC BC, less frequent elsewhere; circumpolar, N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, WV, IN, WI, MN, and NW WA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

View a video on identification of Carex pauciflora by Tony Reznicek, University of Michigan.


Ecological Framework for Carex pauciflora

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) 20 909 2260
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 56
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 73 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 6 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: BWBS(17), CDF(4), CWH(56), ESSF(75), ICH(56), IDF(3), MH(10), MS(7), SBPS(3), SBS(80), 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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References