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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Water Sedge - Carex aquatilis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
C-value: 5

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Rhizomatous. Stems erect, 30–100 cm, often tufted. Leaves basal and cauline; blades 2–6 mm wide. Inflorescence of 3 to 10 well-separated spikes; the lowest bract greater than the inflorescence. Spikes erect; the uppermost 1 to 3 male, the lower female or androgynous, subsessile to pedunculate below, 12–60 mm long, cylindric. Perigynia ascending, green to tan, obovate, veinless, glabrous, 2–3 mm long with a minute beak. Female scales lanceolate, acute, brown with a pale midstripe, equal to or smaller and narrower than the perigynia. Achene 2-sided, smaller than the perigynium (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

We have varieties aquatilis and dives (T. Holm) Kukenth.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Circumboreal south through temperate North America (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 391

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



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

Marshes, wet meadows, fens, streambanks; plains, valleys, montane (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • 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?
    • Ament, R.J. 1995. Pioneer Plant Communities Five Years After the 1988 Yellowstone Fires. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 216 p.
    • Eggers, M.J.S. 2005. Riparian vegetation of the Montana Yellowstone and cattle grazing impacts thereon. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. 125 p.
    • Hollenbeck, R.R. 1974. Growth rates and movements within a population of Rana pretiosa pretiosa Baird and Girard in south central Montana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 66 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Water Sedge — Carex aquatilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from