Carex breweri Herbaceous Alliance
Brewer sedge mats

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormHerb
  • Elevation2700-3700 m
  • State RarityS3
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: CA, OR, WA (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Carex breweri is dominant or co-dominant in the herbaceous layer with Antennaria corymbosa, Antennaria media, Arabis platysperma, Calamagrostis muiriana, Carex subnigricans, Carex vernacula, Danthonia intermedia, Gentiana newberryi, Juncus parryi, Lupinus lepidus, Oreostemma alpigenum, Poa fendleriana, Poa stebbinsii, Selaginella watsonii, Silene sargentii and Trisetum spicatum. Shrubs may be present at low cover, including Salix petrophila or Vaccinium cespitosum.

Vegetation Layers

Herbs < 30 cm; cover is intermittent to continuous.

Membership Rules

  • Carex breweri > 50% relative cover in the herbaceous layer (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).


Snowbeds on concave sites to middle to upper slopes with late snowmelt. Soils are skeletal, stony, well-drained sandy loams derived from granitic rock.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Alpine habitat, Sedge series
NVCS (2009) Carex breweri herbaceous alliance
Calveg Alpine grasses and forbs, Wet grasses and forbs
Holland Sierra Nevada fell-field, Alpine snowbank margin
Munz Alpine fell-fields
WHR Alpine dwarf-shrub, Wet meadow
CDFW CA Code 45.150.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Cryomorphic Shrub and Herb Vegetation (Polar and High Montane Vegetation)
Formation Subclass Temperate and Boreal Alpine Vegetation
Formation Alpine Scrub, Forb Meadow, and Grassland
Division Western North America Alpine Scrub, Forb Meadow, and Grassland
Macro Group Vancouverian Alpine Scrub, Forb Meadow, and Grassland
Group Californian alpine-subalpine turf