New York Natural Heritage Program
Back's Sedge
Carex backii Boott

Habitat [-]
This sedge grows primarily in dry, rocky deciduous, mixed, or evergreen open forests or woodlands, often over limestone. It occurs on or adjacent to rocky ledges, rock outcrops, ridges, calcareous pavement barrens and woodlands, thickets, and sand plain thickets. Open canopied forests are preferred but it also grows in more forested as well as more open habitats. (New York Natural Heritage Program 2005). Dry, rocky, open, or shaded slopes, ridges, and barrens, in hardwood, mixed, or coniferous forests, including pine plantations, on acidic and calcareous substrates (Crins et al. 2002). In quite varied habitats, the species frequently occurs in mesic deciduous forests near streams and rivers. Soils often have a high organic content with an abundance of leaf litter. Signs of localized, natural disturbance are usually evident. It also grows in open, prairie habitats with scattered Quercus macrocarpa, on open granite outcrops, and along disturbed roadsides (Saarela and Ford 2001). Dry rocky or sandy woods and bluffs (Fernald 1970).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Alvar pavement grassland
    This community consists of exposed, flat limestone or dolostone pavement with grassy or mossy patches interspersed throughout. Some examples may be solely grassland with no pavement.
  • Alvar shrubland
    A shrub-dominated community that has over 25% cover of tall, short, and dwarf shrubs. There are often deep crevices or grikes in the limestone pavement; trees and shrubs are often rooted in the grikes.
  • Alvar woodland
    A subset of the limestone woodland community restricted to the alvar region in Jefferson County, New York.
  • Appalachian oak-hickory forest
    A hardwood forest that occurs on well-drained sites, usually on ridgetops, upper slopes, or south- and west-facing slopes. The soils are usually loams or sandy loams. This is a broadly defined forest community with several regional and edaphic variants. The dominant trees include red oak, white oak, and/or black oak. Mixed with the oaks, usually at lower densities, are pignut, shagbark, and/or sweet pignut hickory.
  • Calcareous cliff community
    A community that occurs on vertical exposures of resistant, calcareous bedrock (such as limestone or dolomite) or consolidated material; these cliffs often include ledges and small areas of talus.
  • Calcareous shoreline outcrop
    A community that occurs along the shores of lakes and streams on outcrops of calcareous rocks such as limestone and dolomite. The vegetation is sparse; most plants are rooted in rock crevices.
  • Limestone woodland
    A woodland that occurs on shallow soils over limestone bedrock in non-alvar settings, and usually includes numerous rock outcrops. There are usually several codominant trees, although one species may become dominant in any one stand.

Associated Species [-]
  • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
  • Smooth Rock-cress (Boechera laevigata)
  • Woodland Sedge (Carex blanda)
  • Troublesome Sedge (Carex molesta)
  • Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvanica)
  • Rosy Sedge (Carex rosea)
  • Hidden Sedge (Carex umbellata)
  • Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
  • Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
  • (Crataegus sp.)
  • Northern Bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
  • Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Common Woodrush (Luzula multiflora)
  • Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
  • Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
  • White Oak (Quercus alba)
  • Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
  • Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Eastern Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans)
  • Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides)
  • Northern Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)