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Pale Sedge

Carex pallescens

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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, 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, 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:
70 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, grassland, meadows, mountains, riverbanks, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Brown, no petals
Pale brown flower spikes and pale brown glumes.
Green or pale brown fruits (achenes). Egg-shaped and without beaks. In fruit in June and July.
Bright yellowish-green, alternate leaves which are often hairy on the undersides. The upper surfaces are hairless. Perennial.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Carex pallescens, also known as pale sedge, is a species of sedge native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial herb growing up to 70 cm tall. It typically grows in moist to wet habitats such as meadows, fens, and along the margins of lakes and rivers. The leaves are narrow and glossy, and the flowers are small and arranged in spikes. The fruit is a small achene. This species is a valuable plant in wetland ecosystem and it's important for wildlife habitat, water quality and erosion control. It's also used in landscaping and gardening as an ornamental plant. It's also a food plant for the caterpillars of some species of moths, such as the sedge pug. It is tolerant of a wide range of soil and light conditions, making it a versatile species for landscaping in damp areas.


Pale Sedge, scientifically known as Carex pallescens, is a perennial plant species that belongs to the Cyperaceae family. This sedge is native to Europe and parts of Asia, and it is commonly found in damp meadows, marshes, and other wetlands. Pale Sedge is an herbaceous plant that grows up to 70 cm tall, and its leaves are narrow and grass-like.

One of the most distinctive features of the Pale Sedge is its inflorescence, which is a collection of small flowers arranged in spikes. The spikes are typically greenish in color and appear in the late spring and early summer months. The flowers are wind-pollinated, and the resulting fruit is a small, triangular nut.

Pale Sedge is an important plant species for wetland ecosystems. Its roots help to stabilize the soil, preventing erosion and improving water quality. The plant also provides habitat and food for a variety of wetland insects, birds, and other wildlife.

In addition to its ecological significance, Pale Sedge has a number of traditional medicinal uses. In some parts of Europe, the plant has been used to treat digestive disorders, skin irritations, and respiratory ailments. The root and rhizome of the plant contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.

Despite its ecological and medicinal importance, Pale Sedge is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, as wetlands continue to be drained and developed for agriculture, industry, and urbanization. The species is currently listed as "Near Threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Efforts are underway to conserve and restore wetlands, including the habitat of Pale Sedge, through habitat protection, restoration, and management. In addition, more research is needed to understand the ecology and potential uses of this important plant species.

Pale Sedge is a fascinating plant species with important ecological and medicinal value. As wetlands continue to be threatened and degraded, it is essential that we work to conserve and restore the habitat of this and other wetland plants, for the benefit of both wildlife and human communities.

Pale Sedge is a versatile plant species that is able to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including fluctuating water levels, soil types, and light levels. It is commonly found in wet meadows, fens, marshes, and bogs, and it can grow in both sunny and shady locations.

The species is highly adaptable and can grow in a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. However, it prefers soils that are rich in organic matter and moisture. Pale Sedge is often found growing in association with other wetland plant species, such as sedges, rushes, and various species of wetland grasses.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal uses, Pale Sedge has also been used in traditional crafts. The tough, fibrous stems of the plant have been used to weave baskets, mats, and other woven items. The stems can also be used as cordage for binding and tying.

Pale Sedge is a relatively low-maintenance plant species that is easy to grow and propagate. It can be propagated from seed, division, or rhizome cuttings. The plant is also self-seeding and can naturalize in suitable habitats.

Pale Sedge is a highly adaptable plant species with important ecological, medicinal, and cultural value. As we continue to learn more about the ecology and potential uses of this and other wetland plants, it is essential that we work to conserve and restore wetland habitats, for the benefit of both human communities and wildlife.

Pale Sedge is also an important indicator species for wetland habitat quality. Its presence in wetlands indicates the presence of healthy and functioning wetland ecosystems, while its absence or decline can be an indicator of degraded wetland conditions. Therefore, the conservation of Pale Sedge and other wetland plant species is important for the protection and restoration of wetland ecosystems and the services they provide, such as water purification, flood control, and wildlife habitat.

Furthermore, Pale Sedge is used in ecological restoration projects to improve the quality of degraded wetlands. This plant can be used in bioengineering techniques, such as vegetative erosion control or stabilizing water courses, as well as in habitat restoration and conservation programs. Additionally, Pale Sedge can be a beneficial plant species for landscaping purposes, especially for wetland gardens and rain gardens.

Pale Sedge is one of the many plant species threatened by climate change, as the increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns can negatively affect its growth and survival. In order to preserve this species and other wetland plants, it is necessary to address the root causes of climate change and take action to mitigate its effects.

Finally, public education and outreach programs are critical to promote the conservation of Pale Sedge and other wetland plant species. These programs can help raise awareness of the ecological and cultural value of wetlands and encourage the public to take action to protect and restore wetland habitats. This can be achieved through educational materials, workshops, and wetland tours, among other initiatives.

In conclusion, Pale Sedge is a fascinating and important plant species with ecological, medicinal, cultural, and landscaping value. Its conservation and restoration are crucial for maintaining healthy and functioning wetland ecosystems and the services they provide. Therefore, efforts to protect and restore wetland habitats should be increased and sustained, with the involvement of various stakeholders and the public.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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