Perennial, tufted herb from long, creeping rhizomes; stems triangular, with rough edges, 30-120 cm tall, equalling the leaves.
Sheaths tight, short; blades flat, well distributed along the stem, 3-7 mm wide, the lower ones slightly reduced.
Spikes 3 to 10, the terminal 1 to 3 short-stalked, with male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 7, with mostly female flowers and often several male flowers at the tops, with long stalks, 3-14 cm long, spreading or drooping; bracts subtending the spikes leaflike, sheathless, the lower ones longer than the inflorescence, the upper ones reduced.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 2-3.6 mm long, 1.3-2.3 mm wide, brownish-green, 3-angled, the angles rounded, smooth to somewhat wrinkled, marginally 2-nerved, entire or minutely bidentate; female scales egg-shaped, shorter or longer than the perigynia, often shortly awn-tipped, brownish-red, with lighter 3-nerved centres and translucent margins, often whitish at the tips; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, granular, 1.1-1.5 mm long.
Although Standley (1985) treated this taxon as a variety of C. aquatilis, we have not. To do so, it would require a similar treatment for many other taxa in our region now recognized at the species level. Also, for practical reasons, merging C. sitchensis, a community dominant, with C. aquatilis would result in resource managers naming the community after the latter.
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.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|BWBS(25), CDF(12), CMA(2), CWH(197), ESSF(56), ICH(86), IDF(2), MH(7), MS(7), SBPS(15), SBS(182), SWB(3)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex aquatilis var. dives (T. Holm) Kük.
Carex barbarae Dewey