Species At Risk

Juniper Sedge

(Carex juniperorum)


Juniper Sedge
Juniper Sedge occurrences map


Juniper Sedge is a small, perennial plant with grass-like leaves up to 30 centimetres long. It grows in colonies in open alvar woodland. Alvar is a dry, open landform with very thin soil over a limestone bedrock base. It is one of the rarest habitat types in the world.

Action we are taking:


The Juniper Sedge is only found in southeastern Ontario and the southern Ohio-northern Kentucky region and is considered globally rare. In Canada, there are three sub-populations in Hastings County in the Salmon River Alvar. One sub-population has been extirpated. Each sub-population contains 600 to 5000 shoots, some of which may actually be extensions of the same parent plant spreading by underground roots. A small population was also recently discovered near Selkirk in Haldimand County. There are fewer than 20 known populations for this Juniper Sedge globally.


The Juniper Sedge grows mainly on alvars located in relatively open woodland, often dominated by red cedar but also deciduous trees. At one site in Ontario, the species occurs in oak savannah. Drought and fire have a big role to play in keeping alvars and savannah in an open or semi-open condition. Without such disturbances, this habitat would likely become overgrown by shrubs and trees that would shade-out the rare vegetation below.


The main threat to Juniper Sedge is habitat alteration, urban development, grazing, utility corridors, all-terrain vehicles, garbage dumping, and competition from non-native plants are also threats to this rare plant.


Juniper Sedge is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.

What You Can Do to Help Juniper Sedge

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as Juniper Sedge. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies ; www.invadingspecies.com ; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca ; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca .
  • The Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program is available to eligible farmers to encourage greater protection and conservation of habitat for species at risk. Find more information at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment/efp/efp.htm.

Did you know?

Sedges look very similar to grasses. To distinguish between them, remember that the stems of sedges don’t have joints and are often three-sided.

Did you know?

This species is new to science. The biology of the Juniper Sedge is not well known, since the plant was only discovered in Ontario in the early 1990s.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.