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Fingered Sedge

Carex digitata

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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, 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, Spiked 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:
120 centimetres tall
Bogs, gardens, grassland, marshes, riverbanks, riversides, rocky places, scrub, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Green, no petals
Fingered Sedge is a very rare species of flower mainly appearing in limestone woodlands around the Bristol Channel. The female flowers appear in reddish-brown spikelets overtopping the more slender male flowers. Wind-pollinated.
Light brown fruit.
As typical of Sedges, the grass-like leaf blades are triangular in cross-section. The dark green leaves appear in rows of 3 and are fused around their stems. The leaves have few hairs and are purplish around their bases.
Other Names:
Finger Sedge, Long-fingered Sedge.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex digitata, also known as Finger Sedge or Long-fingered Sedge, is a species of sedge that is native to Europe, Asia and North America. 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. It is known for its distinctive, long, finger-like spikes of seeds, which resemble small fingers, which is where the plant gets its common name. 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.


Fingered sedge, scientifically known as Carex digitata, is a perennial plant that belongs to the Cyperaceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia, and can be found growing in moist soils such as fens, bogs, and wet meadows.


Fingered sedge is a relatively tall sedge, growing up to 120cm in height. It has distinctive narrow, finger-like leaves that are typically 2-4mm wide and 10-30cm long. The leaves are dark green and glossy, and are arranged in tufts. The stems are triangular in shape and are topped with small, brownish-green flowers that are arranged in spikes.

Ecology and Habitat

Fingered sedge is an important plant for many wetland ecosystems. It is a good indicator of healthy wetlands and is often found growing in fens, bogs, and wet meadows, which are vital habitats for many species of plants and animals. In these habitats, fingered sedge plays a vital role in the functioning of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a wide range of wildlife.


Fingered sedge has a number of traditional medicinal uses, particularly in northern and eastern Europe. It has been used to treat a range of ailments, including diarrhea, fever, and kidney problems. The plant is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat rheumatism and arthritis.

In addition to its medicinal uses, fingered sedge is also used in traditional crafts, such as basket weaving. The long, thin leaves are ideal for weaving and are often used to make baskets and other woven objects.

Conservation Status

Fingered sedge is a species of conservation concern in many countries. Wetlands are often drained and converted to other uses, which can threaten the survival of fingered sedge and other wetland plants and animals. In addition, the plant is also threatened by the spread of non-native species and changes in land use practices.

To protect fingered sedge and other wetland species, it is important to conserve and restore wetland habitats. This can be done through a range of management practices, such as reducing drainage and controlling the spread of invasive species. Conservation organizations and government agencies are working to protect and restore wetland habitats, in order to ensure the survival of species like fingered sedge.

Fingered sedge is a valuable and important plant for wetland ecosystems. It is not only a beautiful and interesting plant to observe, but it also plays a vital role in supporting the health of wetland habitats. By protecting and conserving wetland habitats, we can help to ensure the survival of fingered sedge and other wetland species for generations to come.


Fingered sedge can be propagated from seed, but it is more commonly propagated by division. This involves dividing the plant into smaller sections and replanting them in a suitable location. The best time to divide fingered sedge is in the spring or fall, when the plant is not actively growing. The divided sections should be planted in a moist, well-drained soil in a location that receives partial shade.

Cultural Significance

Fingered sedge has a long history of use in traditional medicine, as well as in crafts and basket weaving. In some cultures, the plant is also associated with certain mythological or spiritual beliefs. For example, in Finnish mythology, fingered sedge was believed to have protective powers and was used to ward off evil spirits.

In addition to its cultural significance, fingered sedge is also an important plant for restoration and conservation projects. It is often used in wetland restoration projects to help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. The plant's deep root system also helps to improve soil structure and increase soil moisture, which can benefit other wetland plants and animals.

Challenges and Future Outlook

Wetland habitats, including those where fingered sedge grows, are under threat from a range of human activities, including land use change, development, and pollution. In many parts of the world, wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate, which is putting many wetland species, including fingered sedge, at risk of extinction.

However, there is hope for the future. There are many organizations and individuals working to protect and restore wetland habitats, which can help to ensure the survival of fingered sedge and other wetland species. In addition, there is a growing awareness of the importance of wetlands for providing critical ecosystem services, such as water filtration and flood control, which can help to promote conservation efforts and support the preservation of these vital habitats.

In conclusion, fingered sedge is an important plant for wetland ecosystems and for traditional cultures around the world. While the plant faces many challenges, there are many conservation efforts underway to protect and restore wetland habitats, which can help to ensure the survival of fingered sedge and other wetland species for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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