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Brown Sedge

Carex disticha

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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, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, 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
Ditches, fens, gardens, grassland, marshes, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, sand dunes, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
Reddish-brown flowerheads. Similar looking to Sand Sedge (Carex arenaria) but the flowerheads are narrower. Sand Sedge is a coastal plant that is rarely found inland, whereas Brown Sedge is frequently found inland. Wind-pollinated.
A one-seeded achene (nut). Its tiny seeds ripen in July and August.
A perennial sedge with hairless leaves and brown basal sheaths. The sheaths are veined and have green bands on the inside.
Other Names:
Two Rank Sedge, Two-rowed Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex disticha, also known as the two-rowed 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. Carex disticha is an important plant in wetland habitats and it is also used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes. It is an important plant for wildlife such as nesting and feeding of birds.


Brown sedge, also known as Carex disticha, is a type of sedge plant that is found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. This plant is an important part of many ecosystems and is commonly found in wetlands, marshes, and other areas with moist soil.

One of the defining characteristics of brown sedge is its distinctive brown or reddish-brown color. The leaves of the plant are long and narrow, and they grow in dense clusters that can reach up to 50 cm in height. The stem of the plant is triangular in shape and is typically shorter than the leaves.

The brown sedge is a perennial plant that blooms in the spring and summer, producing small flowers that are arranged in dense spikes. The seeds of the plant are small and can be dispersed by the wind or by water. The brown sedge is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including cold temperatures, drought, and flooding.

In many parts of the world, brown sedge is an important part of the local ecosystem. It provides food and habitat for a variety of animals, including insects, birds, and small mammals. The plant's extensive root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, and its dense growth pattern can help to filter and purify water.

In addition to its ecological importance, brown sedge also has a number of practical uses. The plant has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples as a source of food, medicine, and building materials. The tough, fibrous leaves of the plant can be woven into baskets and mats, and the roots can be used to make cordage and other useful items.

Today, brown sedge is still used in a variety of ways. In some parts of the world, the plant is cultivated as a source of biomass for fuel or for use in composting. It is also sometimes used as a landscaping plant, particularly in areas with wet soil where other plants may struggle to grow.

Brown sedge is a fascinating and important plant that has played an important role in many different cultures and ecosystems throughout history. Whether you encounter it in the wild or in a more cultivated setting, it is definitely worth taking the time to appreciate this unique and versatile plant.

Brown sedge, like other types of sedge, is a C3 plant, which means that it uses a different photosynthetic pathway than the more common C4 plants such as corn and sugarcane. This allows brown sedge to survive in environments where other plants may struggle to grow, such as in wetlands and areas with poor soil.

Because of its ability to stabilize soil and filter water, brown sedge is often used in wetland restoration and conservation projects. In addition, the plant is also an important food source for many types of wildlife, including waterfowl, muskrats, and beavers.

In terms of its medicinal uses, brown sedge has traditionally been used to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, digestive issues, and respiratory problems. It is also believed to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

One of the interesting things about brown sedge is that it has a very long history of use by humans. Archaeological evidence suggests that the plant was used by indigenous peoples in North America for food, medicine, and other purposes for thousands of years.

In addition to its ecological and cultural importance, brown sedge is also a beautiful plant that can add interest and texture to a garden or natural setting. Its long, narrow leaves and distinctive brown color make it a striking addition to any landscape.

Brown sedge is a fascinating and important plant with a rich history and a wide range of practical uses. Whether you encounter it in the wild or in a more cultivated setting, it is definitely worth taking the time to learn more about this unique and versatile plant.

Brown sedge is a highly adaptable plant that can grow in a variety of environmental conditions, from full sun to partial shade, and in soil types ranging from well-draining sandy soil to heavy clay soils. It is also tolerant of a range of pH levels, from acidic to alkaline.

Propagation of brown sedge is typically done through seed, though the plant can also be propagated through division or from rhizomes. Once established, the plant requires little maintenance, making it a popular choice for naturalistic and low-maintenance gardens.

Brown sedge is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it does require some care to keep it looking its best. It should be watered regularly during the growing season, especially in hot and dry weather. The plant can also benefit from a slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring.

In terms of pests and diseases, brown sedge is relatively resistant to both, though it can be susceptible to fungal diseases if the soil is consistently wet.

Overall, brown sedge is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in many different ecosystems and cultures throughout history. Whether you're a gardener looking for a low-maintenance and ecologically important plant, or simply interested in learning more about the natural world around you, brown sedge is definitely a plant worth getting to know.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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