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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Copper-scale Sedge - Carex chalciolepis
Other Names:  Carex heteroneura var. chalciolepis, Carex atrata var. chalciolepis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5T4T5
State Rank: SU
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 7

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Based on the discrepancy in the number of herbarium specimens identified as Carex chalciolepis (CPNWH 2015) and in its Montana County distribution (Lesica 2012), there seems to be an issue in how to accurately identify this species. Specimens deposited in herbaria outside of Montana will need to be examined before its status in Montana can be determined.
General Description
Caespitose. Stems erect, 20–50 cm. Leaves basal and lower-cauline; blades 1–4 mm wide. Inflorescence of 2 to 6 short-pedunculate, erect spikes forming a loose cluster; lowest spike sometimes arching. Spikes 10–25 mm long, all similar; male flowers basal on uppermost spike otherwise all female. Perigynia erect, purplish to green, elliptic, 4–4.5 mm long, scabrous on the upper margin, filled by the achene; beaks 0.3–0.5 mm long; stigmas 3. Female scales narrowly lanceolate, blackish with thin, hyaline margins, as long or longer but much narrower than the perigynia. Achene 3-sided, much smaller than the perigynium (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Range Comments
MT, NV, UT, CO, AZ and NM. Known from Carbon and Ravalli counties (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 17

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Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Hitchcock, C. L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson. 1969. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part I: Vascular Cryptogams, Gymnosperms and Monocotyledons. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 914 pp.
    • Hurd, E.G., N.L. Shaw, J. Mastrogiuseppe, L.C. Smithman, and S. Goodrich. 1998. Field Guide to Intermountain Sedges. General Technical Report RMS-GTR-10. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 282 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Copper-scale Sedge — Carex chalciolepis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from