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Green-ribbed Sedge

Carex binervis

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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, 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, 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:
50 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, grassland, heathland, meadows, moorland, mountains, riverbanks, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Brown, no petals
A single male catkin is situated at the top of the stem (up to 45mm in length). Below that are 2 to 4 female catkins which are spaced out along the stem. The short upper bracts resemble glumes. The lower bracts are leaf-like in appearance.
Purplish-brown fruit with two green ribs, tapering upwards into a long, pointed beak. 4 to 5mm in length. In fruit between June and August.
A dense tuft-forming sedge. The leaves are ribbed and often blotched with red. They are dark green on the upper surfaces and light green below. They have very short ligules. Perennial.
Other Names:
Two-nerve Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex binervis, commonly known as "two-nerve 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, wet meadows, and along stream banks. It has narrow, green leaves and small, inconspicuous brown or green flowers that appear in spring and early summer. Carex binervis can grow in sun or shade, wet or dry soils and can tolerate some degree of flooding. The leaves of Carex binervis have a distinctive feature, they have only two main nerves running along the leaf blade, hence the name "two-nerve sedge". It 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, also it can be used to stabilize stream banks and other erosion-prone areas.


Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis) is a perennial plant that belongs to the sedge family, Cyperaceae. It is a small and delicate sedge that is commonly found in northern regions of the world, including Europe, North America, and Asia. In this blog, we will explore the key features, ecological role, and cultural significance of the Green-ribbed Sedge.

Features: Green-ribbed sedge is a small and delicate plant that typically grows up to 30cm in height. It has slender stems that are light green in color and are triangular in shape. The leaves of the plant are thin and grass-like, and they grow from the base of the stem. The distinguishing feature of this sedge is the presence of two prominent veins or ribs on the leaves, which run parallel to each other. The leaves are typically around 2-4mm in width and up to 10cm in length.

The inflorescence of the Green-ribbed sedge is a dense cluster of spikelets that are arranged in a cylindrical or oblong shape. Each spikelet contains both male and female flowers. The male flowers are located at the top of the spikelet and are often greenish-brown in color, while the female flowers are located at the bottom and are brownish in color.

Ecological Role: Green-ribbed sedge is an important component of many wetland ecosystems. It grows in wet soils that are rich in organic matter, and it is particularly common in fens, bogs, and marshes. It plays an important role in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion, as well as providing habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species.

The dense mats of vegetation created by Green-ribbed sedge also provide cover and shelter for small animals, such as insects and amphibians. The sedge can also help to filter and purify water, as it has the ability to absorb and trap pollutants and excess nutrients from the soil.

Cultural Significance: Green-ribbed sedge has been traditionally used for a variety of purposes by different cultures. In Scandinavia, the plant was used to make baskets and other woven objects, while in North America, indigenous peoples used the leaves of the plant to make mats, cordage, and baskets. The plant has also been used in traditional medicine for a variety of purposes, such as treating digestive disorders, skin irritations, and wounds.

In modern times, Green-ribbed sedge is increasingly being used in landscaping and gardening. Its delicate appearance and ability to grow in wet soils make it an attractive option for planting around ponds and other water features. It is also used as a ground cover in gardens and as a low-maintenance alternative to lawn grass.

Green-ribbed sedge is a small but important plant that plays a key role in wetland ecosystems. Its ability to stabilize soil, filter water, and provide habitat for wildlife make it an essential component of many wetland ecosystems. Its historical and cultural significance, as well as its modern uses in landscaping and gardening, also highlight its value and importance.

Further Information

Green-ribbed sedge is a plant that is relatively easy to grow and care for, making it a popular choice for those looking to create a low-maintenance garden or landscape. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade. It is also a relatively slow-growing plant, which means that it requires minimal pruning or maintenance.

One of the key benefits of Green-ribbed sedge is its ability to help prevent soil erosion. The plant has a strong root system that helps to anchor the soil and prevent it from washing away. This can be particularly beneficial in areas where there is a risk of soil erosion, such as along riverbanks or in areas with steep slopes.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, Green-ribbed sedge also has a number of potential uses in modern medicine. Recent studies have shown that the plant contains a variety of bioactive compounds that may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. These properties make the plant a potential candidate for use in the development of new drugs and natural remedies.

In conclusion, Green-ribbed sedge is a small but important plant that has a variety of ecological, cultural, and medicinal benefits. Its ability to stabilize soil, provide habitat for wildlife, and filter water make it an important component of many wetland ecosystems. Its historical and cultural significance, as well as its modern uses in landscaping and medicine, highlight its value and importance in both natural and human-made environments.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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