Open the Advanced Search

Oval Sedge

Carex ovalis

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, 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, 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:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, grassland, heathland, marshes, meadows, moorland, sand dunes, wetland, woodland.

Brown, no petals
The flower is unstalked, light reddish-brown and forms tight flowerheads. The spikes are a maximum of 14mm in length.
Oval fruit which tapers to a notched beak. 4 or 5mm in length.
Narrow, dark green, rough-edged leaves. Perennial.
Other Names:
Eggbract Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex ovalis, commonly known as "oval sedge," is a perennial herbaceous plant in the Cyperaceae family. It is native to North America and typically found in wet or moist habitats, such as bogs, fens, and wet meadows. It has narrow, pale green leaves and small, inconspicuous brown or green flowers that appear in spring and early summer. Carex ovalis is often used in landscaping and gardening for its ability to tolerate wet soils and to provide a ground cover in shaded or partly shaded areas.


Oval sedge, also known as Carex ovalis, is a plant species that is commonly found in wetland habitats throughout Europe and parts of Asia. It is a member of the sedge family, Cyperaceae, and is known for its distinctive oval-shaped leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers.

Appearance and Habitat

Oval sedge typically grows to a height of 30-60cm and features long, narrow leaves that are approximately 5-10mm wide. The leaves are green in color and can be flat or slightly folded. The stems of the plant are smooth and triangular in shape, with small flowers growing in clusters at the top of the stem. The flowers are typically green or brown in color and are wind-pollinated.

Oval sedge is typically found in wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, and swamps, where it thrives in moist, nutrient-rich soils. It is often found growing in association with other wetland species, such as sedges, rushes, and reeds. The plant is also commonly found in wet meadows and along the edges of streams and rivers.


While not commonly used for commercial purposes, oval sedge does have some practical applications. The plant is often used for erosion control and soil stabilization, particularly in wetland areas. It is also a useful plant for wildlife habitat restoration projects, as it provides cover and nesting habitat for a variety of bird species.

In addition to its practical applications, oval sedge is also valued for its aesthetic qualities. The plant's distinctive foliage and subtle flowers make it a popular choice for wetland gardens and landscape design projects. It is also sometimes used as a filler in wildflower seed mixes, providing valuable habitat for wildlife while adding visual interest to the landscape.


Despite its widespread distribution, oval sedge is considered to be a species of conservation concern in some parts of its range. In the United Kingdom, for example, the plant is listed as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, which identifies species in need of conservation action. Oval sedge is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, as wetland habitats are drained or converted to agricultural or urban use.

In order to conserve oval sedge and other wetland species, it is important to protect and restore wetland habitats. Wetland conservation efforts may include the restoration of degraded wetlands, the protection of existing wetlands, and the creation of new wetland habitats through the construction of artificial wetlands.


Oval sedge, or Carex ovalis, is a valuable plant species that plays an important role in wetland ecosystems. While not often used for commercial purposes, the plant is valued for its practical applications in erosion control and wildlife habitat restoration, as well as its aesthetic qualities in garden and landscape design. As wetland habitats continue to be threatened by human activities, it is important to prioritize the conservation of oval sedge and other wetland species in order to preserve these important ecosystems for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map