Carex saxatilis L.
russet sedge (rock sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #11465)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Carex saxatilis
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Carex saxatilis ssp. laxa

Species Information

Perennial herb from short-creeping rhizomes; stems 10-90 cm tall, arising singly, triangular, rough below the inflorescence, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths tight; ligules as long as wide; blades 4 to 8 per stem, flat, the margins rolled-under, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stem, 2-12 mm wide, the lower ones reduced, persistent.
Spikes 4 to 7, the terminal 1 to 3 linear, 1.5-5 cm long, long-stalked, with many male flowers, the lower 1 to 4 spikes cylindrical, 1.5-5 cm long, with female flowers, or some with male flowers above the female flowers, short-stalked, erect to spreading or nodding; bracts subtending the lowest spike leaflike, sheathless or short-sheathing, the lowest longer than the inflorescence.
Perigynia elliptical to broadly egg-shaped, 3.5-5 mm long, 1-1.2 mm wide, yellowish-green or brown to purplish-black, somewhat inflated, smooth, shiny, 2-ribbed, the bases round, short-stalked, the beaks short, 0.1-0.3 mm long, entire or nearly so; femal

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Carex saxatilis

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)
1422 540 2330
Slope Gradient (%)
3 0 53

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

311 10 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 2 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

BAFA(6), BWBS(3), ESSF(35), MH(4), MS(8), SBPS(1), SBS(13), SWB(2)

Habitat and Range

Bogs, fens, shorelines and wet meadows in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; frequent throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to MA, CO, UT and WA; N Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex ambusta Boott
Carex miliaris Michx.
Carex physocarpa J. Presl & C. Presl
Carex rhomalea (Fernald) Mack.
Carex rotundata var. compacta (R. Br. ex Dewey) B. Boivin
Carex saxatilis subsp. laxa (Trautv.) Kalela
Carex saxatilis var. major Olney
Carex saxatilis var. miliaris (Michx.) L.H. Bailey
Carex saxatilis var. rhomalea Fernald