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Thin-spiked Wood Sedge

Carex strigosa

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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, 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, Spiked Sedge, Spring Sedge, Star Sedge, Starved Wood Sedge, Stiff Sedge, String Sedge, Sweet Galingale, Tall Bog Sedge, Tawny 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:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, riverbanks, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, no petals
A pale yellow spikelet. Similar to Wood Sedge (Carex sylvatica) but with shorter catkin stalks.
The short-beaked fruit is green, narrow and bottle-shaped. The beaks are shorter than that of Wood Sedge.
Hairless, soft, linear leaves. Up to 1cm wide. Present in all parts of the British Isles but rare in Scotland. Perennial.
Other Names:
Rough-stalked Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex strigosa, also known as "rough-stalked sedge" is a species of perennial plant in the Cyperaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is found in wetland habitats such as bogs, fens and along stream banks. It has triangular-shaped leaves and produces small brown or brownish-green flowers in spikes. The plant can grow up to 60 cm in height and forms dense tufts. The stem is triangular and rough to the touch. 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.


Thin-spiked Wood Sedge, also known as Carex strigosa, is a species of sedge that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial plant that grows in damp or wet habitats, such as woodlands, wet meadows, and stream banks. This sedge is a relatively small plant, growing to a height of around 30-60 cm. Its stems are slender and have a triangular shape, and it has long, thin leaves that are dark green in color.

One of the most striking features of the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is its inflorescence. The flowers are arranged in small, dense spikes that are around 1-2 cm long. Each spike contains both male and female flowers, and they are located at the top of the stem. The flowers are wind-pollinated and produce small, triangular nuts that are less than 4 mm in length.

The Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is an important species for a variety of reasons. It plays a vital role in the ecology of wetland habitats, providing habitat and food for a wide range of insects, birds, and other animals. It is also used in traditional medicine, with the roots and leaves being used to treat a variety of ailments, such as diarrhea, fever, and pain.

Despite its ecological and medicinal importance, the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is facing a number of threats. Habitat loss and degradation, caused by human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and infrastructure development, are the main threats to this species. Climate change is also likely to have an impact, with changes in precipitation and temperature potentially affecting the distribution and abundance of the sedge.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge and its habitats. In some areas, efforts are being made to restore degraded wetland habitats, while in others, the sedge is being reintroduced to areas where it has been lost. In addition, research is being carried out to better understand the ecology and biology of the species, which will help inform future conservation efforts.

The Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is a small but important species that plays a vital role in wetland ecosystems. While it is facing a number of threats, there is hope that conservation efforts will help protect this important plant and ensure that it continues to provide valuable ecological and medicinal benefits for future generations.

The Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is a relatively adaptable plant that can tolerate a range of environmental conditions, including both sun and shade. It is able to grow in a variety of soil types, from loamy to sandy, as long as the soil is consistently moist. The plant also has a relatively fast growth rate, and is able to spread through both seed dispersal and vegetative reproduction.

One interesting aspect of the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is its role in ecosystem services. As a wetland plant, it helps to regulate the water cycle by absorbing and filtering water, reducing the risk of flooding, and improving water quality. It also provides habitat for a range of wildlife, including invertebrates, amphibians, and birds, which in turn supports the wider food web of the ecosystem.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal importance, the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge has a cultural significance in some areas. In Scandinavia, for example, it has been used to make baskets and other household items. The plant has also been used in the past as a source of thatching material for roofs and as a fodder crop for livestock.

To support the conservation of the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge, there are a number of actions that can be taken. These include protecting and restoring wetland habitats, reducing pollution and other human impacts, and increasing public awareness of the value and importance of this species. Individuals can also help by avoiding disturbing natural wetland areas, and by supporting organizations and initiatives that work to protect wetland habitats and their associated biodiversity. By working together, we can help ensure the long-term survival of this important plant species and the ecosystems that it supports.

In terms of identification, the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge can be distinguished from other species of sedges by its inflorescence and leaves. The inflorescence of the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is made up of small, dense spikes that are arranged in a cylindrical shape at the top of the stem. Its leaves are long and thin, with a pointed tip and a V-shaped cross-section. The stem of the plant is also typically triangular in shape, which is a common feature of many species of sedges.

The Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is also known to form hybrid populations with other species of sedges, which can make identification more challenging. Hybridization is common in plants and can lead to the development of new plant species over time.

In terms of cultivation, the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is not widely grown for horticultural purposes, although it can be grown in wetland habitats or in garden ponds. In natural settings, the sedge can be propagated through both seed and vegetative reproduction, and can form large clumps over time.

In conclusion, the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge is an important plant species that plays a vital role in wetland ecosystems. Its ecological and cultural significance, along with its adaptability and resilience, make it an important species for conservation efforts. By protecting and restoring wetland habitats, reducing human impacts, and increasing public awareness of the value of this species, we can help ensure that the Thin-spiked Wood Sedge and the ecosystems that it supports continue to thrive for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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