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Flat Sedge

Blysmus compressus

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.
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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, 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, 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:
1 metre tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, grassland, marshes, riverbanks, riversides, sand dunes, seaside, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
The spikelets are arranged into a flattened spike. The glumes are tinged red or yellow.
Dark brown, glossy and with long bristles.
Flat, grass-like, rough-edged leaves, gradually narrowing to a blunt tip. Round stems.
Other Names:
Compressed Club-rush.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Blysmus compressus is a species of rush known by the common name compressed club-rush. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa and it can be found in wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, and along the margins of lakes and rivers. It is a perennial herb growing up to 1 meter tall. It is typically found in wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, and along the margins of lakes and rivers. The leaves are narrow and pointed, and the flowers are small and arranged in clusters. It is also used for ornamental and landscaping purposes.


Flat Sedge, also known as Blysmus compressus, is a species of perennial sedge that is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and is also commonly found growing in wetlands, marshes, and along the banks of streams and rivers. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics, uses, and cultivation of this interesting and versatile plant.


Flat Sedge is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) and spreads by rhizomes to form dense clumps. The leaves are narrow, flat, and linear, with a distinctive V-shaped cross-section. The stems are triangular in cross-section and can vary in color from green to reddish-brown. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are borne in clusters at the tips of the stems.

One of the most distinctive features of Flat Sedge is its ability to grow in water. Its roots are adapted to absorb nutrients and oxygen from the water, which allows it to thrive in wetland environments. The plant also has a high tolerance for salt, which makes it well-suited to growing in brackish water.


Flat Sedge has a variety of uses, both ornamental and practical. In gardens and landscapes, it is often used as a groundcover or edging plant, thanks to its low-growing habit and attractive foliage. It is also a popular choice for rain gardens and other water features, as it can help to filter pollutants and improve water quality.

In addition to its ornamental uses, Flat Sedge has a number of practical applications. It is used in erosion control, as its extensive root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion. It is also an important plant for wildlife habitat, providing food and shelter for a variety of animals, including birds, insects, and small mammals.


Flat Sedge is a relatively easy plant to grow, as long as you provide it with the right conditions. It prefers moist to wet soil, but can tolerate periods of dryness once established. It is also adaptable to a wide range of soil types, from sand to clay. It can be grown in full sun to part shade, but will tolerate more shade in wetter environments.

Propagation of Flat Sedge is typically done through division or seed. If you are dividing an established clump, it is best to do so in the spring, just as new growth is starting to appear. To propagate by seed, collect the seeds in the fall and plant them in a prepared bed in the spring.

In conclusion, Flat Sedge is a versatile and useful plant that is well-suited to a variety of garden and landscape settings. Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance groundcover, a plant to help filter water, or a way to control erosion, Flat Sedge is an excellent choice. With a little care and attention, this hardy plant can provide years of beauty and functionality.

More Information

Flat Sedge has been used for medicinal purposes by Indigenous peoples in North America for centuries. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, stomachache, and coughs. The plant is high in tannins and has astringent properties, which may help to soothe inflammation and reduce bleeding.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Flat Sedge has also been used for basket weaving and other crafts. The stems of the plant are thin and flexible, making them ideal for weaving into intricate designs.

Flat Sedge is a relatively low-maintenance plant, but it may require occasional maintenance to keep it looking its best. In areas with heavy foot traffic, the leaves and stems may become flattened or damaged. To prevent this, it is recommended to trim the plant back in the fall or early spring to encourage new growth.

Flat Sedge is a versatile and adaptable plant that is well-suited to a variety of uses. Whether you are looking for a beautiful groundcover, a way to improve water quality, or a natural remedy for common ailments, Flat Sedge is an excellent choice. With its hardy nature and attractive foliage, this plant is sure to be a valuable addition to any garden or landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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