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

Carex flava L.
yellow sedge (large yellow sedge)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11505)

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Distribution of Carex flava
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Species Information

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Perennial, densely tufted herb from fibrous roots; stems 10-80 cm tall, longer than the leaves.
Sheaths straw-coloured to greenish; blades 4 to 8 per stem, flat or channelled below, borne on the lower 1/2 of the stem, 2-5 mm wide, the lower ones reduced or lacking.
Spikes 3 to 7, the terminal one unstalked or short-stalked, linear, 5-20 mm long, with male flowers (rarely some female flowers), the lower spikes 2 to 5, erect, cylindrical, 5-19 mm long, many-flowered, with female flowers (sometimes with male flowers at the tips), long-stalked, the stalks 5-20 mm long; bracts subtending the female spikes conspicuous, leaflike, 3-8 cm long, much exceeding the inflorescence, the sheaths 2-20 mm long, the upper bracts shorter.
Perigynia spreading to reflexed, egg-shaped, 4.2-6.5 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, yellowish-green to green, smooth, prominently nerved, 2-ribbed, the beaks about as long as the bodies of the perigynia, bidentate, finely toothed on the margins, reddish-tinged at the tips; female scales egg-shaped, pointed, shortly awned at the tips, narrower and much shorter than the perigynia, reddish to brownish, with greenish midribs and translucent margins; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, smooth, 1.2-1.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs, swamps, shorelines and wet, sandy sites in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in S BC, rare northward, absent on the Queen Charlotte Islands; disjunct circumpolar, N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to NH, NJ, PA, VA, OH, IN, WI, MN, CO, ID and WA; Iceland, Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Carex flava

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) 20 1015 1890
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 35
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 71 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 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: BWBS(1), CWH(5), ESSF(5), ICH(6), IDF(3), MS(10), SBS(1)


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 flava var. fertilis Peck
Carex flava var. gaspensis Fern.
Carex flava var. graminis Bailey
Carex flava var. laxior (Knkenth.) Gleason
Carex flava var. lepidocarpa (Tausch) Gord.
Carex flava var. nelmesiana (Raymond) B. Boivin
Carex flava var. rectirostra Gaudin
Carex lepidocarpa Tausch
Carex nevadensis subsp. flavella (Krecz.) Janchen

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References