Carex sitchensis Prescott ex Bong.
Sitka sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #30001)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Carex sitchensis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

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.


Ecological Framework for Carex sitchensis

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)
708 0 1890
Slope Gradient (%)
2 0 70

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

253 20 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 0 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

BWBS(25), CDF(12), CMA(2), CWH(197), ESSF(56), ICH(86), IDF(2), MH(7), MS(7), SBPS(15), SBS(182), SWB(3)

Habitat and Range

Swamps, shorelines, marshes, fens and wet meadows in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC south of 56degreeN; N to SE AK and S to CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Carex aquatilis var. dives (T. Holm) Kük.
Carex barbarae Dewey