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Lesser Pond Sedge

Carex acutiformis

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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 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:
150 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, marshes, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, saltmarshes, swamps, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
Brown flower spikes. 3 stigmas. Wind pollinated.
Abruptly narrowed towards the beak.
A perennial, clump-forming plant with greyish-green leaves up to 150cm tall and 2cm wide.
Other Names:
Lesser Bank Sedge, Marsh Sedge, Sharp-flowered Sedge, Swamp Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex acutiformis, also known as "sharp-flowered 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 150cm in height, it forms dense tufts and has a triangular stem. 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.


Lesser Pond Sedge (Carex acutiformis) is a species of sedge found across much of the Northern Hemisphere. This sedge is commonly found growing in wetlands, such as marshes, fens, and bogs. It is an important component of these ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of species and contributing to the overall health of the wetland.

Description and Identification

Lesser Pond Sedge is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows to a height of 50-150 cm. The leaves are long and narrow, typically ranging from 2-8 mm wide, and are a deep green color. The stems of the plant are triangular in shape, and are topped with a distinctive inflorescence that contains numerous small flowers. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, typically green or brown in color.

One of the key identifying features of Lesser Pond Sedge is the shape of its inflorescence. The inflorescence is a dense spike that is often wider at the base than at the tip. The spike is made up of numerous small flowers, each of which is enclosed by a bract. The bracts are usually shorter than the flowers themselves, and are brown or green in color.

Habitat and Distribution

Lesser Pond Sedge is found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, fens, bogs, and the edges of ponds and lakes. It prefers soil that is wet and rich in organic matter, and can tolerate a wide range of pH levels. In addition to its native range in the Northern Hemisphere, Lesser Pond Sedge has been introduced to other parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand.

Ecological Importance

Lesser Pond Sedge is an important component of wetland ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of species. It is particularly important for waterfowl, which use the sedge for nesting and foraging. The plant also provides cover for small mammals, such as voles and muskrats, and helps to stabilize the soil in wetland areas.

In addition to its ecological importance, Lesser Pond Sedge has a number of practical uses. Historically, the plant was used by indigenous peoples for a variety of purposes, including weaving baskets and mats. Today, the sedge is still used in a variety of traditional crafts, and is also used in wetland restoration projects.

Conservation Status

Lesser Pond Sedge is not considered to be a threatened species, but it is vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation. Wetland ecosystems are under threat from a variety of factors, including land-use changes and the effects of climate change. As wetlands disappear, so too do the species that depend on them, including Lesser Pond Sedge. It is therefore important to protect and conserve wetland habitats in order to ensure the survival of this important plant species, as well as the many other species that rely on wetland ecosystems for their survival.

Lesser Pond Sedge is a key component of wetland ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of species and contributing to the overall health of the wetland. As such, it is an important species to protect and conserve, both for its ecological importance and for its practical uses in traditional crafts and wetland restoration projects. By taking steps to protect and restore wetland habitats, we can ensure that this important plant species continues to thrive for generations to come.


Lesser Pond Sedge belongs to the genus Carex, which is one of the largest genera of flowering plants, with over 2,000 species worldwide. Within the genus, Lesser Pond Sedge belongs to the section Phacocystis, which includes other sedges that are typically found in wetland habitats.


Lesser Pond Sedge can be propagated through both seed and vegetative means. The seeds are small and require a moist, well-drained soil in order to germinate. Vegetative propagation can be achieved through division of the rhizomes, which are the underground stems of the plant.

Cultural Uses

In addition to its practical uses in traditional crafts, Lesser Pond Sedge has a number of cultural associations. In some cultures, the sedge is associated with fertility and abundance, and is used in rituals to bring about good luck and prosperity. In other cultures, the sedge is used in medicinal preparations to treat a variety of ailments.

Ecological Threats

Wetlands, including those in which Lesser Pond Sedge is found, are under threat from a variety of human activities. One of the biggest threats to wetland ecosystems is the conversion of wetlands to agricultural or urban land uses. This not only destroys the habitat that wetland species depend on, but also contributes to soil erosion, water pollution, and other environmental problems.

Climate change is also a major threat to wetland ecosystems, as rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns can disrupt the delicate balance of these ecosystems. This can lead to the loss of important species, including Lesser Pond Sedge.

Invasive species are another threat to wetland ecosystems, as non-native species can outcompete and displace native species, including Lesser Pond Sedge. In some cases, invasive species can even alter the physical and chemical characteristics of wetland soils, making it difficult for native species to survive.

Lesser Pond Sedge is a fascinating plant with a rich history and many ecological and cultural associations. It is an important species to protect and conserve, both for its intrinsic value and for the many benefits it provides to wetland ecosystems and the people who depend on them. By working to protect wetlands and the species that depend on them, we can help ensure a healthy and sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet as a whole.


Lesser Pond Sedge is a clump-forming plant with a dense root system. It has narrow leaves that can grow up to 100 cm long and 2-8 mm wide, and these leaves are often rough to the touch. The stem of the plant is triangular in shape, and it can grow up to 150 cm tall. The inflorescence of the plant is made up of numerous spikelets that are tightly packed together, and each spikelet contains many small flowers.


Lesser Pond Sedge can be grown in gardens, provided the soil is consistently moist. It is a great plant to use for erosion control on slopes, and it can also be used in rain gardens or other wetland restoration projects. However, it is important to keep in mind that this plant can spread easily, and it may not be suitable for small gardens.


Lesser Pond Sedge is not typically consumed by humans, but it is an important food source for waterfowl, such as ducks and geese. The seeds of the plant are a particularly important food source for these birds, and they are also eaten by other wetland species, such as muskrats and beavers.

Medicinal Properties

Lesser Pond Sedge has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including kidney stones and bladder infections. The plant is believed to have diuretic properties, and it has also been used to treat rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions.

Conservation Efforts

Wetlands, and the species that depend on them, are under threat from a variety of human activities. Many efforts are underway to protect and conserve wetland ecosystems, including those that support Lesser Pond Sedge. These efforts include the creation of protected areas, such as national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as the implementation of policies and practices that promote sustainable land use and resource management.

In addition to conservation efforts, research is also being conducted to better understand the ecological and cultural importance of Lesser Pond Sedge, as well as its potential uses in fields such as medicine and environmental restoration. By working to understand and protect this important plant species, we can help ensure a healthy and sustainable future for wetland ecosystems and the many species that depend on them.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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