Fewflower sedge Tall cottongrass
Carex pauciflora Eriophorum angustifolium  
n = 4
III.A.3.k. Subarctic Lowland Sedge-Moss Bog Meadow
Ecosystem: Relict Lakebed, Depression


DeVelice et. al. (1999) describe a very similar tall cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) - fewflower sedge (Carex pauciflora) type on Chugach National Forest, putting it into Viereck et.al.s (1992) wet sedge meadow tundra class.  In The Alaska Vegetation Classification (Viereck, et. al. 1992), tall cottongrass types are primarily listed as a tundra class. This plant occurs as a co-dominant in 29 plots in three Kenai lowlands types (where tundra is absent).  The Alaska Vegetation class which best fits the physical description of these sites, "subarctic lowland sedge-moss bog meadow", contains several cottongrass communities, but none with tall cottongrass, or fewflower sedge.  Boggs (2000) describes a tall cottongrass type lacking fewflower sedge, on the Copper River delta.

Fewflower sedge - tall cottongrass is a mossy wet type with some dwarf birch (Betula nana) and few other shrubs.  It primarily occurs on southern Lowlands relict glacial lakebeds.  

Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) and bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) are present, but sparse.  Fewflower sedge cover can be thick, but typically covers about one third of the site.  Tall cottongrass cover is open, usually about half as abundant as fewflower sedge.  

Organic mats are over 1 meter thick, and the water table is less than 10 centimeters below the surface.  Standing water is present; all these sites qualify as jurisdictional wetlands.   

Table 1.  Frequency of occurrence and hydric status of soil series named at NRCS holes.  Bold type indicates soils on the NRCS Alaska hydric soils list.

   Soil Series n

Hydric Criteria Number

STARICHKOF 2 1, 2B2, 3

Table 2.  Summary of plant frequency and average cover for plants occurring in more than 50% of plots. 

         Wetland Indicator Status


f  Average Cover   Alaska National
Shrubs/Stunted trees
stunted Picea X lutzii 0.8 0.4 np
Betula nana 1.0 14.0 FAC FAC, OBL
Empetrum nigrum 1.0 2.3 FAC FACU, FACW
Vaccinium uliginosum 0.8 6.7 FAC FACU+, FACW
Dwarf shrubs
Andromeda polifolia 1.0 2.0 OBL OBL
Vaccinium oxycoccos 0.8 1.0 OBL OBL
Carex pauciflora   1.0 45.0 OBL OBL
Eriophorum angustifolium   1.0 21.3 OBL OBL
Drosera rotundifolia 0.8 0.4 OBL OBL
Moss 1.0 100.0
Open water 1.0 1.8
np- not present on the wetland indicator status list


 Introduction and Key to Plant Communities  

Introduction and Key to Ecosystems

    Kenai Hydric Soils    Map Unit Summary    Methods    Glossary

Contact: Mike Gracz
Kenai Watershed Forum 
PO Box 15301
Fritz Creek, AK  99603
The Alaska Natural Heritage Program
Environment and Natural Resource Institute
University of Alaska, Anchorage
707 A Street, Suite 101
Anchorage, Alaska  99501

04 May 2007 09:39