Carex scoparia Schkuhr ex Willd.
pointed broom sedge (broom sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


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E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Carex scoparia
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Carex scoparia var. scoparia


Broom sedge is a perennial tufted sedge that is widespread in North America, and is found in most US states and Canadian provinces. In BC, it is found in moist to wet ditches, lakeshores, marshes and meadows in the lowland and montane zones.

In his rare plants of the Fraser Valley article, Lomer (2011) says: "This sedge is most abundant in BC in the Fraser Valley. It grows in wet sites that may dry out by summer's end or remain wet year round. It does well in disturbed man-made habitats such as wet fields, wet hydro line right-of-ways, roadside ditches, and boggy clearings. It can be recognized best by its leafy, clumped habit and compact to somewhat loosely arranged, often nodding, heads of pointed spikelets. It has been recorded from 30 sites in Greater Vancouver, mainly in the Burnaby-Coquitlam-Surrey area (UBC: Lomer 96-190) and is also locally frequent east to Chilliwack". Extracted from Botanical Electronic News #432, January 2011, with permission.

A detailed description of this species is given in Flora North America, which recognizes two varieties: var. scoparia and var. tessellata.

Species Information

Perennial, tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 15-90 cm tall, exceeding the leaves.
Sheaths tight; blades flat, 1.5-3 mm wide, borne on the lower 1/3 of the stem.
Spikes 4 to 12, aggregated into a 1-5 cm long ellipsoid head, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the female flowers towards the tips; bracts subtending the spikes sheathless, reduced, the lowermost sometimes awnlike, about 0.5-1.5 cm long.
Perigynia narrowly egg-shaped, 4-6.5 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, greenish-white or straw-coloured, more or less flattened, the margins narrowly winged to the bases, the upper 2/3 fringed with teeth, lightly several-nerved on both sides or nerveless below, the beaks obliquely cut on the upper surface, minutely bidentate, 1.2-2 mm long, narrowly margined and toothed below; female scales narrowly elliptical, greenish-white, with translucent margins, shorter and narrower than the perigynia; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.1-1.5 mm long. vol6_4

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.

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 scoparia

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)
1719 405 2090
Slope Gradient (%)
4 0 21

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

275 20 338
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

ESSF(10), IDF(1), MS(4)

Habitat and Range

Moist to wet ditches, lakeshores, marshes and meadows in the lowland and montane zones; rare in S and EC BC; E to NF and S to ME, MA, NC, GA, AL, MS, LA, OK, NM, AZ and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia