Tufted bulrush – Alpine bulrush
Trichophorum caespitosum – Trichophorum alpinum  
n = 6
III.A.3.k. Subalpine Lowland Sedge-Moss Bog Meadow
Ecosystem: Relict Lakebed; Headwater Fen

Tufted bulrush (Trichophorum caespitosum) communities are well documented in Alaska (Shephard, 1995; DeVelice et.al., 1999; Dachnowski-Stokes, 1941; Streveler, et. al., 1973; Fox, 1983 and Jaques, 1973, in Viereck, et. al., 1992), but no authors have reported the presence of alpine bulrush (Trichophorum alpinum), and on a few Kenai lowland fens this plant is dominant or co-dominant.

Tufted bulrush – alpine bulrush communities are found primarily on smaller Relict Lakebed surfaces and Headwater Fens at higher elevation south of Clam Gulch.  

Tufted bulrush dominates, at nearly 50% cover, with woodland densities of alpine bulrush.  Dwarf birch (Betula nana) is present, often with bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) and hooded ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) in trace amounts.  

This is the community in which a substantial range extension for elephant-head lousewort (Pedicularis groenlandica), an Alaska Natural Heritage Program S1S2 rare plant, was discovered in the headwaters of the Anchor River.

The organic horizon is over one meter (40”) thick, and the water table is at or very close to the surface.  All six 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


1, 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 7.5 FAC FAC, OBL
Vaccinium uliginosum 0.7 1.9 FAC FACU+, FACW
Dwarf shrubs
Vaccinium oxycoccos 0.7 0.3 OBL OBL
Andromeda polifolia 0.8 1.2 OBL OBL
Trichophorum caespitosum   1.0 45.8 OBL OBL
Trichophorum alpinum   1.0 8.5 OBL OBL
Spiranthes romanzoffiana 0.8 0.4 OBL FACW, OBL
Parnassia palustris 0.7 0.5 FACW FACW, OBL
Eriophorum angustifolium   0.7 0.4 OBL OBL
Drosera rotundifolia 0.7 0.3 OBL OBL
Moss 1.0 89.2
Open water 0.7 1.4      


 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 10:05