Open the Advanced Search

Greater Tussock Sedge

Carex paniculata

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, 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:
2 metres tall
Bogs, ditches, fens, gardens, grassland, marshes, riverbanks, swamps, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Brown, no petals
Drooping catkin-like flower spikes. Only the lower spikelets are stalked.
The fruit has a very wide base in comparison to most other sedge species. The tip of the fruit is notched.
Very large, dark green, overwintering tussocks, 1 metre wide. The tussocks are very thick and fibrous. Leaf blades are between 5 and 7mm wide. The leaves are V-shaped in cross-section.
Other Names:
Feathery Sedge, Hassock Grass, Panicle Sedge, Panicled Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex paniculata, also known as "panicle sedge" or "feathery sedge" is a species of perennial plant in the Cyperaceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia and North America and is found in wetland habitats such as bogs, fens and along stream banks. It has linear leaves and produces small green or brownish-green flowers in spikes. The plant can grow up to 120cm in height and forms dense tufts. The spikes are feathery and elongated, that's why it's called paniculata (which means feathery). It prefers wet soils and partial shade, it is also tolerant to salt and drought. It is often used as a ornamental plant in gardens, and wetland restoration. It is also known for its medicinal properties, it has been traditionally used for wound healing and for treating respiratory conditions.


Greater Tussock Sedge (Carex paniculata) is a perennial plant species belonging to the family Cyperaceae. It is commonly found in wetlands, bogs, marshes, and other waterlogged habitats across Europe, Asia, and North America. This sedge is particularly known for its tall, tussock-forming growth habit, and its ecological importance in wetland ecosystems.

The Greater Tussock Sedge is a tall, robust plant that can grow up to 2 meters in height. Its leaves are long and narrow, with a dark green color and a rough texture. The stem of the plant is also tall and sturdy, and it has a characteristic triangular shape, which is common among plants in the Cyperaceae family. The flowers of the plant are small and inconspicuous, arranged in a cluster at the top of the stem. The seeds of the plant are contained in small, brownish-colored capsules, which are dispersed by the wind.

One of the most remarkable features of the Greater Tussock Sedge is its ability to form large, dense clumps, known as tussocks. These tussocks are important for providing habitat and shelter for a wide range of wetland wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. The tussocks also help to stabilize wetland soils, prevent erosion, and filter pollutants from the water.

In addition to its ecological importance, the Greater Tussock Sedge has a number of uses and applications for humans. Historically, the plant has been used for weaving baskets, mats, and other woven goods, due to the strong, flexible nature of its leaves. The plant has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders, skin conditions, and infections.

Despite its many benefits, the Greater Tussock Sedge is facing a number of threats in the modern world. Wetland destruction, habitat fragmentation, and pollution are all major factors that are impacting the populations of this important plant species. In addition, climate change is likely to exacerbate these threats, as rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns alter the conditions in which the plant can grow and thrive.

To protect the Greater Tussock Sedge and other wetland species, it is important to take action at both the local and global levels. Conservation efforts can include protecting wetland habitats, restoring degraded areas, and reducing pollution and other human impacts on these ecosystems. Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies can also help to ensure that wetlands remain healthy and functional in the face of a changing climate.

The Greater Tussock Sedge is an important plant species that plays a critical role in wetland ecosystems across the globe. With its characteristic tussock-forming growth habit and ecological benefits, this plant serves as a valuable indicator of wetland health and provides numerous benefits to wildlife and humans alike. However, it is facing numerous threats in the modern world, and it is up to us to take action to protect and conserve this important species for generations to come.

The Greater Tussock Sedge is adapted to wetland habitats and has specialized features that allow it to thrive in these environments. One such adaptation is the ability to tolerate waterlogged soils, which can be toxic to many other plant species. The plant achieves this through the development of specialized roots that allow it to access oxygen in waterlogged soils, as well as a unique anatomy that helps to transport oxygen to the plant's roots.

In addition, the Greater Tussock Sedge has an important role in the carbon cycle. Wetlands are one of the most efficient ecosystems at sequestering carbon, and the Greater Tussock Sedge contributes to this process by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and storing it in its tissues and the surrounding soils. This makes the plant an important ally in the fight against climate change, as it helps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and mitigate the impacts of global warming.

The Greater Tussock Sedge also provides important food and habitat for wetland wildlife. The dense tussocks created by the plant provide shelter and nesting sites for a wide range of bird species, such as ducks, geese, and rails. The seeds of the plant are a food source for many small mammals and birds, while the leaves and stems provide important forage for grazing animals such as deer and elk.

In addition, the Greater Tussock Sedge has a long history of use by indigenous peoples around the world. In North America, for example, the plant has been used for centuries by Native American tribes for its medicinal properties, as well as for basketry, matting, and other woven goods. In Europe, the plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, from kidney stones to coughs and colds.

Overall, the Greater Tussock Sedge is an important and valuable plant species that plays a critical role in wetland ecosystems and has a long history of use by humans. However, the plant is facing a range of threats, from habitat destruction to climate change, which are putting its populations at risk. To protect this important species and ensure that it can continue to provide benefits to both wildlife and humans, it is important that we take action to conserve wetland habitats and reduce our impact on these vital ecosystems.

One of the ways that the Greater Tussock Sedge helps to protect wetland ecosystems is through its ability to stabilize wetland soils and prevent erosion. Wetlands are often subject to flooding, and the tussocks created by the plant can help to hold soils in place and prevent erosion during high water events. This is important for maintaining the integrity of the wetland ecosystem and protecting the water quality of adjacent water bodies.

The Greater Tussock Sedge is also an important indicator species for wetland health. Because it is a specialized plant that is adapted to wetland habitats, its presence can indicate the presence of healthy, functioning wetland ecosystems. Conversely, the absence of the plant can indicate degraded or destroyed wetlands, which may have negative impacts on water quality, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.

To protect the Greater Tussock Sedge and other wetland species, it is important to engage in habitat conservation and restoration efforts. This can include protecting wetlands from development and other human activities, restoring degraded wetlands, and creating new wetland habitats where appropriate. In addition, it is important to reduce pollution and other human impacts on wetland ecosystems, as these can have negative impacts on the health and function of these important ecosystems.

Overall, the Greater Tussock Sedge is a valuable and important plant species that plays a critical role in wetland ecosystems around the world. Its tussock-forming growth habit, ecological benefits, and historical and cultural significance make it an important species to protect and conserve for future generations. By taking action to protect wetland habitats and reduce our impact on these vital ecosystems, we can help to ensure that the Greater Tussock Sedge and other wetland species continue to thrive and provide benefits to both wildlife and humans.


Video 1: Greater Tussock Sedge filmed at Capernwray, Lancashire on the Lancaster Canal on 30th April 2023.


Video 2: Greater Tussock Sedge filmed at Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria on the 13th May 2023.


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