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

Carex vulpinoidea Michx.
fox sedge
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Thayne Tuason  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #76899)

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Distribution of Carex vulpinoidea
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Fox sedge is a perennial, tufted species of sedge that is a widespread species in North America, found in almost every US state, and many Canadian provinces. In British Columbia it is found across the southern part of the province in wet meadows, swamps, marshes, and streambanks.

In his rare plants of the Fraser Valley, Lomer (2011) says: "This densely leafy sedge is occasionally encountered in low wet sites from Vancouver to Chilliwack. Recorded from 8 sites in Greater Vancouver, it is most frequent between Abbotsford and Chilliwack (UBC: Faris 142). It does well in wet grassy clearings such as ditchbanks and road verges, is somewhat adapted to disturbance, and is not really threatened by development unless there is wholesale removal of the natural vegetation." Extracted from Botanical Electronic News #432, January 2011, with permission.

Species Information

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Perennial, tufted herb from short, stout rootstocks; stems 20-100 cm tall, usually a few together, roughened on the angles above, usually shorter than the leaves.
Sheaths cross-wrinkled; blades 4 to 5 per stem, borne on the lower 1/2, or sometimes the lower 3/4 of the stem, flat or nearly so, 2-5 mm wide, the lower ones much reduced.
Spikes numerous, densely aggregated into a linear to cylindrical, 2-15 cm long head, more or less separate below, egg-shaped, 2-3 cm long, unstalked, with both female and male flowers, the male flowers towards the tips; bracts hairlike, 8-10 cm long below, 2-2.5 cm long above, conspicuous throughout the inflorescence.
Perigynia egg-shaped, 2-3.5 mm long, 1-1.8 mm wide, plano-convex, faintly nerved, spreading, yellowish-green to straw-coloured, smooth, very short-stalked, finely toothed above, the beaks 1/2 to fully the length of the bodies, bidentate; female scales egg-shaped, equalling or slightly shorter than the perigynia, brownish, the midribs greenish, prolonged into awns, the margins translucent; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, smooth, 1.3-1.6 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Yellow
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows, swamps, marshes, and streambanks in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; rare in S BC; E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, NC, FL, MS, TX, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex vulpinoidea

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) 615 615 615
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 0
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
8 8 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:


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Carex vulpinoidea var. platycarpa Hall

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References