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Carnation Sedge

Carex panicea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Bogs, gardens, grassland, heathland, marshes, meadows, moorland, riverbanks, riversides, saltmarshes, sea cliffs, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
Reddish-brown or light yellow. One male catkin at the top of the stem and one to three female catkins below. The female catkins are markedly shorter than the males.
Egg-shaped fruit with a short beak, up to 4mm long.
A grass-like sedge with distinctive pale blue, hairless leaves.
Other Names:
Carnation Grass, Grasslike Sedge, Hair Sedge, White-haired Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex panicea, commonly known as the white-haired sedge or hair sedge, is a species of perennial sedge that is native to North America, Europe and Asia. It typically grows in wet meadows, marshes, and along the banks of streams and rivers. It has narrow, grass-like leaves that are green to gray-green in color and small, inconspicuous flowers that appear in late spring to early summer. The plant is often used for erosion control and in wetland restoration projects. It is also used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes.


Carnation sedge, also known by its scientific name Carex panicea, is a beautiful perennial sedge that is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It belongs to the Cyperaceae family and is known for its striking pink and green foliage. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics, cultivation, and uses of the Carnation sedge.

Characteristics of Carnation Sedge

Carnation sedge is a clump-forming sedge that typically grows to a height of 30-60 cm. The plant has thin, hairless leaves that are a bright pink color at the base and gradually transition to green at the tips. The leaves are typically around 4-7 mm wide and have a slightly rough texture. The plant produces green flowers that are held on spikes that grow above the foliage in the summer. The flowers are followed by small brown seed heads.

Cultivation of Carnation Sedge

Carnation sedge is a versatile plant that can grow in a variety of conditions. It prefers moist to wet soil and can be grown in full sun or partial shade. The plant is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and can tolerate temperatures as low as -29 °C. Carnation sedge is a low-maintenance plant that does not require frequent watering or fertilization. It can be propagated by division in the spring or by seed.

Uses of Carnation Sedge

Carnation sedge is an attractive plant that is commonly used as an ornamental in gardens and landscapes. It is often planted in borders, rock gardens, and in areas with wet soil, such as around ponds or streams. The plant's bright pink and green foliage provides a striking contrast with other plants and adds visual interest to any garden. Additionally, the plant's ability to tolerate wet soil makes it a useful plant for erosion control.

In addition to its ornamental uses, Carnation sedge has a number of medicinal and culinary applications. The plant contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues and menstrual cramps. The young shoots of the plant can also be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable.

Carnation sedge is a versatile and attractive plant that can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether you are looking to add visual interest to your garden, control erosion, or explore the plant's medicinal or culinary applications, Carnation sedge is an excellent choice.

More Information

Carnation sedge is also known for its ability to provide habitat and food for a variety of wildlife. The plant's seeds are eaten by birds, including finches and sparrows, while the foliage provides shelter and nesting material for small mammals and insects.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological uses, Carnation sedge is a popular plant for use in the floral industry. The plant's striking pink and green foliage is often used in flower arrangements and bouquets. The dried stems and seed heads can also be used in decorative arrangements.

When it comes to caring for Carnation sedge, it is important to keep in mind that the plant prefers moist to wet soil. If the soil becomes too dry, the plant may wilt or suffer from leaf scorch. In addition, the plant can be prone to leaf rust and other fungal diseases, especially in humid or wet conditions. Regular pruning and proper sanitation practices can help prevent the spread of these diseases.

Carnation sedge is a versatile and attractive plant that can be used for a variety of purposes. From its ornamental uses in the garden to its medicinal and culinary applications, Carnation sedge is a valuable addition to any landscape. Whether you are a gardener, florist, or nature enthusiast, Carnation sedge is a plant worth exploring.

One interesting fact about Carnation sedge is that it is considered a "cool season" plant, meaning that it is most active and productive during the cooler months of the year. In warmer climates, the plant may go dormant during the hot summer months and resume growth in the fall.

Another interesting feature of Carnation sedge is that it is a common host plant for the larvae of several species of moths, including the beautiful Wood Carpet moth (Epirrhoe rivata) and the Flame Carpet moth (Xanthorhoe designata). The caterpillars of these moths feed on the foliage of the plant, but do not generally cause significant damage.

In terms of propagation, Carnation sedge can be grown from seed or by division. If growing from seed, it is best to sow the seeds in the fall or early spring, as they require a period of cold stratification in order to germinate. If propagating by division, it is best to do so in the spring, just as new growth is emerging.

Overall, Carnation sedge is a beautiful and useful plant that deserves a place in any garden or landscape. Whether you are looking for an ornamental plant to add color and texture to your garden, or a useful plant with medicinal or culinary applications, Carnation sedge is an excellent choice. With its striking pink and green foliage, low maintenance requirements, and ability to tolerate wet soil, this versatile plant is sure to make a valuable addition to any landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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