Carex echinata Herbaceous Alliance
Star sedge fens

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormHerb
  • Elevation1150-2700 m
  • State RarityS3?
  • Global RarityG4?
  • DistributionCAN: BC. USA: CA, NV?, OR? WA? ID?, Mexico? (BONAP)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2013/03/07

Characteristic Species

Carex echinata is dominant in the herbaceous layer with Bistorta bistortoides, Drosera rotundifolia, Eleocharis quinqueflora, Eriophorum crinigerum, Hypericum anagalloides, Mimulus primuloides, Oreostemma alpigenum var. andersonii, Phalacroseris bolanderi, Spiranthes romanzoffiana and Triantha occidentalis ssp. occidentalis. Emergent shrubs may be present at low, including Vaccinium uliginosum. Mosses are typically present, including Philonotis fontana and Sphagnum subsecundum.

Vegetation Layers

Herbs < 90 cm; cover is continuous.

Membership Rules

  • Carex echinata > 50% relative cover in the herbaceous layer (Sikes et al. 2010a).


Wet meadows; sloping and basin fens. Soils are alluvial and highly organic. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Carex echinata as an OBL plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) None
NVCS (2009) None
Calveg None
Holland None
Munz None
WHR None
CDFW CA Code 45.191.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Shrub and Herb Vegetation (Shrubland and Grassland)
Formation Subclass Temperate and Boreal Shrubland and Grassland
Formation Temperate and Boreal Freshwater Marsh
Division Western North American Freshwater Marsh
Macro Group Western North America Wet Meadow and Low Shrub Carr
Group Western Cordilleran montane-boreal summer-saturated meadow