Sphagnum moss – Manyflower sedge
Sphagnum spp. - Carex pluriflora
n = 7
III.A.3.j. Subarctic Lowland Sedge Bog Meadow
Ecosystem: Relict Lakebed / Drainageway

The sphagnum moss - manyflower sedge community has been described for the Aleutian Islands by Hultén (1960) and on Chugach National Forest by DeVelice et. al. (1999).

Sphagnum moss (Sphagnum spp.) – manyflower sedge (Carex pluriflora) communities are uncommon on the Kenai Lowlands, but widespread.  They occur on well-developed peat mats, with slightly deeper water tables, over relict glacial lakebeds.  One sample site is on a larger depressional feature on a older modified moraine (of ‘Eklutna’ age Karlstrom (1964)) on the west slope of the Caribou Hills, and another is over a peat-filled kettle, in the kettle-kame country adjacent to the Old Sterling Highway, southeast of Anchor Point.  

Spahgnum moss - manyflower sedge communities are characterized by a sparse vegetation layer dominated by manyflower sedge emerging from a continuous sphagnum mat.  Dwarf birch (Betula nanacrowberry (Empetrum nigrumand bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) are present.  Bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) and bog cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) are usually present, all in trace amounts.  

The organic horizon is thick, thick enough to qualify as an organic soil (greater than 40 cm, a histosol).  The water table can be near or at the surface, and was always encountered within the first 14 inches (36 cm).  All 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


1, 2B2, 3


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

         Wetland Indicator Status



 Average Cover

  Alaska National
Betula nana 1.0 10.0 FAC FAC, OBL
Empetrum nigrum 1.0 3.7 FAC FACU, FACW
Vaccinium uliginosum 0.9 4.7 FAC FACU+, FACW
Ledum palustre ssp. decumbens   0.7 2.0 FACW FACW
Dwarf shrubs
Andromeda polifolia 1.0 0.6 OBL OBL
Vaccinium oxycoccos 0.9 0.4 OBL OBL
Carex pluriflora 1.0 23.0 OBL OBL
Rubus chamaemorus 0.9 0.6 FACW FACW
Drosera rotundifolia 0.7 0.4 OBL OBL
Eriophorum angustifolium   0.6 5.8 OBL OBL
Carex pauciflora   0.6 4.0 OBL OBL
Carex rotundata   0.6 2.7 OBL OBL
Equisetum arvense 0.6 0.1 FAC* FAC*, FACW-
Moss 0.9 92.5      


 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