Carex helleri Herbaceous Alliance
Heller’s sedge fell-fields

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormHerb
  • Elevation2400-4100 m
  • State RarityS2
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: CA (NatureServe), NV? (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Carex helleri is co-dominant or characteristically present in the herbaceous layer with Achnatherum occidentale, Agoseris glauca, Antennaria media, Arabis platysperma, Carex breweri, Carex subnigricans, Castilleja nana, Cistanthe monosperma, Draba densifolia, Elymus elymoides, Eriogonum incanum, Lupinus confertus, Luzula divaricata, Penstemon heterodoxus, Poa suksdorfii, Raillardella argentea, Saxifraga tolmiei, Silene sargentii and Trisetum spicatum.

Vegetation Layers

Herbs < 50 cm; cover is open to intermittent.

Membership Rules

  • Carex helleri > 30% relative cover or conspicuous (at least 1% absolute cover) in the herbaceous layer (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).


Exposed upper slopes, ridges, snow beds. Soils are well drained gravely or sandy loams.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Alpine habitat
NVCS (2009) Carex helleri herbaceous alliance
Calveg Alpine grasses and forbs, Perennial grasses and forbs
Holland Klamath-Cascade fell-field, Sierra Nevada fell-field, Alpine talus and scree slope
Munz Alpine fell-fields
WHR Alpine dwarf-shrub, Wet meadow
CDFW CA Code 45.145.00

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 Vancouverian snowbank turf