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

Carex stipata Muhl. ex Willd.
Awl-fruited Sedge (Lingbye's Sedge; owlfruit sedge; sawbeak sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #85471)

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Distribution of Carex stipata
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Carex stipata var. stipata

Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted herb from short fibrous roots; stems 30-100 cm tall, usually a few together, about equalling the leaves, the lower ones reduced, 3-angled, the angles winged and saw-toothed above.
Sheaths cross-wrinkled; blades 3 to 6 per stem, borne on the lower 1/2, or sometimes the lower 3/4 of the stem, flat, 5-11 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.
Spikes numerous, usually densely aggregated into a cylindrical or egg-shaped, 3- to 10-cm long head, usually more or less separate below, egg-shaped, 2-3.5 cm long, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the inconspicuous male flowers towards the tips; bracts short, inconspicuous, the lowest one usually hairlike, prolonged, 2-10 cm long.
Perigynia narrowly triangular, 4-5.2 mm long, 1.5-1.8 mm wide, plano-convex, strongly nerved, spreading, yellow to brownish-translucent, smooth, very short-stalked, finely toothed above, the beaks about the length of the bodies, bidentate; female scales egg-shaped, narrower, about the length of the perigynia, brownish-translucent, the midribs greenish and prolonged into awns, the margins translucent; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, 1.5-2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Swamps, ditches, streambanks, lakeshores and wet meadows in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in BC S of 56degreeN, rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands; amphiberingian, N to AK, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, NC, GA, AL, MS, OK, NM, AZ and OR; E Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

View a video on identification of Carex stipata by Tony Reznicek (University of Michigan).


Ecological Framework for Carex stipata

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) 207 574 1750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 3 18
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 300 337
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 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: CWH(4), ESSF(1), ICH(3), PP(2)


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 cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References