Species Profile

Juniper Sedge

Scientific Name: Carex juniperorum
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2000
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1+2cd
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: The species is globally rare, occurring within a single, very small area of provincially rare habitat. It is threatened by exotic species and potential land development.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Juniper Sedge

Juniper Sedge Photo 1



This is a relatively small sedge, with leaves up to 30 cm long. It belongs to a group of sedges characterized by having leaf-like pistillate scales, few-flowered solitary spikes near the base of the plant, and peduncles which are expanded at their tip. The narrow pistillate scales of the Juniper Sedge lack a translucent margin and have relatively short culms.


Distribution and Population

The Juniper Sedge is unique to southeastern Ontario and the southern Ohio-northern Kentucky region. In Canada, the sedge occurs only in the Salmon River Alvar area of Natural and Scientific Interest, in Lennox and Addington County. Of the fewer than 20 populations known globally for this species, only one population (with three sub-populations) is currently known in Canada. The three sub-populations consist of about 600, 1000 and 5000 rhizomatous growths that probably represent far fewer individual plants. A fourth sub-population is apparently extirpated.



This is a sedge of alvars, which is a rare, shallow-soiled, calcareous habitat type sometimes known as cedar glade. Juniper Sedge occurs in alvar habitats that are in relatively open woodland, usually dominated by Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana). Alvar habitats in Ontario are maintained in an open condition by a variety of factors including drought and fire.



The biology of this species is not well known, since the plant was first described less than a decade ago. It is a perennial sedge that grows in colonies in open alvar woodland. It can be locally abundant. It appears to be an obligate calciphile.



Alvars are very desirable for quarries, since the limestone bedrock is at or near the surface. One of the three remaining sub-populations in the Salmon River Alvar is threatened by the expansion of an existing quarry. Grazing in the area also threatens the plant. Gene flow between the three sub-populations is impeded by obstacles, even though the distances between them are less than 3 km. Housing developments, utility corridors, all-terrain vehicles, garbage dumping, and competition from exotic plant species are all actual or potential threats to the sole Canadian population.



Federal Protection

The Juniper Sedge is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

The Juniper Sedge is protected by the Ontario Endangered Species Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, harass, or collect this species, or to destroy its habitat.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Juniper Sedge (Carex juniperorum) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry


Recovery Team

Napanee Plain Alvar Recovery Team

  • Todd Norris - Chair/Contact - Government of Ontario
    Phone: 613-531-5728  Send Email


Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to Date Public awareness campaigns have increased stewardship actions among private land owners. The goal of public involvement in restoration activities is to reduce habitat loss since it is a leading factor in diminishing populations of Juniper Sedge and other species at risk. Without these stewardship agreements, many wetland habitats would not have any kind of protection. Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities Maps are being created to monitor and gain knowledge of habitat distribution. Biological inventory data (habitat type, species present, species’ population and distribution, etc.) are being collected to provide baseline information for mapping habitat distribution and to guide stewardship and habitat protection programs. Summary of Recovery Activities Stewardship plans, workshops, and information packages are all offered to land owners to encourage them to conserve the natural habitat of their land and participate in Juniper Sedge recovery. Knowledge and awareness of Juniper Sedge habitat helps guide landowners to direct development on their land to non-alvar areas, thus reducing the chance of unintentional habitat destruction. Landowners with alvar ecosystems on their lands are contacted and invited to attend a workshop and alvar field tour to familiarize themselves with the rarity and value of Juniper Sedge and other alvar species, the process of developing a recovery strategy, and the ways they can become actively involved. Habitat restoration activities, such as the removal of invasive plant species, are done late in the summer to protect breeding birds and other species. URLs Canada’s Species at Risk: Juniper Sedge: http://www.canadianbiodiversity.mcgill.ca/english/species/endangered/endangeredpages/car_jun.htm Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk: http://www.rom.on.ca/ontario/risk.php?doc_type=fact&lang=&id=139


PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

2 record(s) found.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Juniper Sedge (Carex juniperorum) in Canada (2019-01-31)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Juniper Sedge and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry led the development of the attached recovery strategy for the Juniper Sedge (Part 2) in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Province of Ontario also led the development of the attached Government Response Statement (Part 3) , which is the Ontario Government’s policy response to its provincial recovery strategy and summarizes the prioritized actions that the Ontario government intends to take and support.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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