Sphagnum moss - Water sedge
Sphagnum spp. - Carex aquatilis  
n = 3
III.A.3.k. Subarctic Lowland Sedge Moss Bog
Ecosystem: Relict Lakebed / Drainageway


Sphagnum - water sedge is well documented in Alaska (Luken and Billings, 1983 in Viereck, et. al., 1992; Ritchie, et.al., 1981; Rosenberg, 1986, DeVelice et.al., 1999; Boggs, 2000).

Sphagnum moss (Sphagnum spp.) - water sedge (Carex aquatilis) is found on low, wet spots on relict glacial lakebed landforms, especially where the lakebed contains slightly sloping shallow groundwater discharge characteristics.  

An open to sparse water sedge layer occupies a sphagnum mat.  Dwarf birch (Betula nana) and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) can be common; bog cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) are present in trace amounts.  

The organic horizon is thick (average = 78 cm).  The water table is near or almost at the surface.  The pH was measured as very strongly acid to neutral (average = 4.8) at three sites.  All 12 sites visited are jurisdictional wetlands.   

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

   Soil Series n

Hydric Criteria Number

STARICHKOF 4 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
Betula nana 0.8 16.7 FAC FAC, OBL
Empetrum nigrum 0.7 14.1 FAC FACU, FACW
Vaccinium uliginosum 0.6 4.2 FAC FACU+, FACW
Dwarf shrubs
Vaccinium oxycoccos 0.8 0.5 OBL OBL
Andromeda polifolia 0.8 0.4 OBL OBL
Carex aquatilis 1.0 24.4 OBL OBL
Moss 0.8 87.2      


 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 10:02