Open the Advanced Search

Spiked Sedge

Carex spicata

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cyperaceae (Sedge)
Also in this family:
American Galingale, Birdsfoot Sedge, Black Alpine Sedge, Black Bog-rush, Bladder Sedge, Bog Sedge, Bottle Sedge, Bristle Club-rush, Bristle Sedge, Broad-leaved Cotton-grass, Brown Beak-sedge, Brown Bog-rush, Chestnut Rush, Close-headed Alpine Sedge, Club Sedge, Common Club-rush, Common Cotton-grass, Common Sedge, Common Spike-rush, Curved Sedge, Deergrass, Dioecious Sedge, Distant Sedge, Divided Sedge, Dotted Sedge, Downy-fruited Sedge, Dwarf Sedge, Dwarf Spike-rush, Estuarine Sedge, False Fox Sedge, False Sedge, Few-flowered Sedge, Few-flowered Spike-rush, Fibrous Tussock Sedge, Fingered Sedge, Flat Sedge, Flea Sedge, Floating Club-rush, Gingerbread Sedge, Glaucous Sedge, Great Fen Sedge, Greater Pond Sedge, Greater Tussock Sedge, Green-ribbed Sedge, Grey Club-rush, Grey Sedge, Hair Sedge, Hairy Sedge, Haresfoot Sedge, Hare's-tail Cotton-grass, Heath Sedge, Hop Sedge, Large Yellow Sedge, Lesser Pond Sedge, Lesser Tussock Sedge, Long-bracted Sedge, Many-stalked Spike-rush, Mountain Bog Sedge, Needle Spike-rush, Northern Deergrass, Northern Spike-rush, Oval Sedge, Pale Sedge, Pendulous Sedge, Perennial Sedge, Pill Sedge, Prickly Sedge, Remote Sedge, Rock Sedge, Round-headed Club-rush, Russet Sedge, Salt Sedge, Sand Sedge, Scorched Alpine Sedge, Sea Club-rush, Sheathed Sedge, Slender Club-rush, Slender Cotton-grass, Slender Sedge, Slender Spike-rush, Slender Tufted Sedge, Smooth-stalked Sedge, Soft-leaved Sedge, Spring Sedge, Star Sedge, Starved Wood Sedge, Stiff Sedge, String Sedge, Sweet Galingale, Tall Bog Sedge, Tawny Sedge, Thin-spiked Wood Sedge, Triangular Club-rush, True Fox Sedge, Tufted Sedge, Water Sedge, White Beak-sedge, White Sedge, Wood Club-rush, Wood Sedge, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Bogs, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, marshes, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, scrub, wasteland, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Green, no petals
Brownish-green flowers with awned glumes, up to 3cm in size. The flowers look spiky as the name of this plant implies.
The fruits narrow gradually towards their ends. They appear in July and August.
A perennial grass-like sedge with very thin leaves. It grows in dense clumps, has long pointed purplish ligules. Its bracts are often purplish too.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex spicata, also known as Spiked Sedge, is a species of sedge that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a perennial herb that typically grows in wetland habitats such as marshes, bogs, and along the edges of streams and rivers. The plant has long, narrow leaves and small, inconspicuous brownish or greenish flowers that grow in spikes, the spikes are typically taller than the foliage. It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens and is also sometimes grown for its medicinal properties. It is considered as a common species in many areas, however, it is considered of conservation concern in some regions.


Spiked Sedge, also known as Carex spicata, is a species of sedge found across many regions of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a hardy, versatile plant that can grow in a variety of environments, from wetlands to woodlands to alpine meadows. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the characteristics of Spiked Sedge, its uses, and its importance in various ecosystems.

Appearance and Characteristics

Spiked Sedge is a perennial plant that typically grows between 30 and 60 centimeters tall, although it can sometimes reach up to 90 centimeters in height. It has long, narrow leaves that are typically a bluish-green color, with a prominent central vein. The leaves grow from the base of the plant and form a dense clump. The stems of the plant are triangular in shape and are usually unbranched.

One of the most distinctive features of Spiked Sedge is its flowers. The flowers are arranged in spikes, with the male flowers at the top and the female flowers below. The spikes can be up to 8 centimeters long and are usually green or yellow in color. The flowers bloom in the summer and fall and are wind-pollinated.

Habitat and Distribution

Spiked Sedge is found in a wide range of habitats, from wetlands and marshes to woodlands and alpine meadows. It can grow in both sunny and shaded areas, although it tends to prefer moist soils. Spiked Sedge is found across much of North America, as well as in Europe and Asia.


Spiked Sedge has a number of practical uses, both historically and today. In some cultures, the leaves of the plant have been used to weave baskets and mats. The plant has also been used medicinally in some cultures, although the effectiveness of these uses has not been scientifically verified.

In addition, Spiked Sedge is an important plant in many ecosystems. It provides habitat and food for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and mammals. The dense clumps of Spiked Sedge provide cover for small animals and birds, while the seeds and foliage are an important food source.

Ecological Importance

Spiked Sedge is a critical plant in many wetland ecosystems. It helps to stabilize soils and prevent erosion, and its dense clumps provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. In addition, the plant is important in nutrient cycling, helping to trap and hold nutrients in the soil. In many regions, wetlands are under threat from human activity, and the loss of Spiked Sedge and other wetland plants can have significant ecological impacts.


Spiked Sedge is a versatile and hardy plant that plays an important role in many ecosystems. From its use in basket-weaving to its importance in wetland ecosystems, Spiked Sedge is a valuable plant that deserves our attention and protection. By understanding more about the characteristics and ecological importance of Spiked Sedge, we can work to preserve this important plant for generations to come.

More about Spiked Sedge

Spiked Sedge is a species of sedge that belongs to the genus Carex, which is one of the largest genera of flowering plants in the world. There are over 2,000 species of Carex, and they are found in a wide range of environments, from wetlands to forests to grasslands. Spiked Sedge is one of the most widespread and common species of Carex, and it is an important part of many ecosystems.

One of the reasons that Spiked Sedge is such an important plant is that it is a pioneer species. Pioneer species are plants that are the first to colonize a new area, such as a recently disturbed or degraded ecosystem. Spiked Sedge is able to grow in soils that are poor in nutrients and that have been recently disturbed. Its roots help to stabilize the soil, which prevents erosion and allows other plants to establish themselves.

Spiked Sedge is also important because it is a food source for many animals. The seeds of the plant are eaten by a variety of birds, including sparrows, finches, and juncos. The foliage is eaten by mammals such as rabbits, beavers, and muskrats. In addition, the dense clumps of Spiked Sedge provide cover for small animals and birds, which helps to protect them from predators.

In wetland ecosystems, Spiked Sedge is especially important. Wetlands are some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, and they provide a variety of services, such as water purification and flood control. Spiked Sedge is a key part of many wetland ecosystems, where it helps to stabilize soils, prevent erosion, and trap and hold nutrients.

Despite its importance, Spiked Sedge and other wetland plants are under threat from human activity. Wetlands are often drained or filled in to make way for development, agriculture, or other uses. This can have significant ecological impacts, including the loss of habitat for wildlife and the degradation of water quality. By protecting Spiked Sedge and other wetland plants, we can help to preserve these important ecosystems for future generations.

Spiked Sedge is also an important plant for soil conservation. The roots of the plant help to bind the soil, which can prevent erosion and protect the soil from being washed away. In areas where the soil is fragile, such as steep slopes or areas that have been recently disturbed, the presence of Spiked Sedge can be crucial for preventing landslides and other types of soil erosion.

Another important feature of Spiked Sedge is that it is able to grow in a wide range of conditions. It can tolerate a range of soil types and moisture levels, and it is able to grow in both sunny and shaded areas. This adaptability allows Spiked Sedge to thrive in many different environments, from wetlands to woodlands to alpine meadows.

In addition to its ecological importance, Spiked Sedge has cultural significance in some cultures. For example, the plant has been used in traditional medicine in some regions of the world, although there is limited scientific evidence to support its medicinal uses. The leaves of the plant have also been used to weave baskets and mats in some cultures.

In conclusion, Spiked Sedge is a versatile and hardy plant that plays an important role in many ecosystems. Its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions makes it a valuable plant for soil conservation, while its importance in wetland ecosystems helps to preserve these critical habitats. By understanding more about the ecological and cultural significance of Spiked Sedge, we can work to protect this important plant for future generations.


Spiked Sedge filmed at Humphrey Head, Cumbria on the 17th July 2022.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map