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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Jointed-spike Sedge - Carex athrostachya

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
C-value: 4

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Caespitose. Stems erect, 15–80 cm. Leaves basal and lower-cauline blades 1–4 mm wide. Inflorescence of 3 to 8 sessile spikes in a dense head; lowest bract spreading, linear, usually longer than the inflorescence. Spikes 5–9 mm long, all similar, female flowers above, male below. Perigynia erect, (narrowly) lanceolate, green to tan, wing- and serrulate-margined, 3–4 mm long including the indistinct 1–2 mm long beak, serrulate below, entire above; stigmas 2. Female scales lanceolate, acuminate, light brown with a pale midvein, as wide and just shorter than the perigynia. Achene 2-sided, much smaller than the perigynium (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
Cordilleran species, extending from coastal southern and southeast AK (less commonly interior AK) southward to CA, UT and CO.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 18

(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)

Wet or vernally wet soil of meadows, sparsely vegetated shores of streams, ponds; 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?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • 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.
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Citation for data on this website:
Jointed-spike Sedge — Carex athrostachya.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from