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Yellow Sedge

Carex viridula

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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, 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
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, heathland, meadows, moorland, mountains, rocky places, sand dunes, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
The 3 or 4 female flower spikes are rounded, clustered together at the top and about 1cm in length. The lowest flower spikes are often very low down the stem. The brown glumes are frequently tinged yellowish-orange. There is one male brown flower spike which sits at the top of the plant.
Yellowish fruit which abruptly narrows towards the beak. Beaks are usually downturned once ripe.
The leaves are quite flat and sometimes recurved. The stems are 3-sided.
Other Names:
Common Yellow Sedge, Green Sedge, Green-flowered Sedge, Greenish Sedge, Little Green Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex viridula, also known as green-flowered sedge, is a species of sedge native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a perennial herb growing up to 50 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 and can be found in different habitats, from wet meadows to dry rocky places.


Yellow sedge, also known as Carex viridula, is a common wetland plant found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. This perennial herb grows up to 50 centimeters in height and produces long, narrow leaves that can be up to 3 millimeters wide. The plant's flowers are typically small and green, with a distinctive yellow tint that gives the species its name.

Yellow sedge is well adapted to wetland environments and is often found in marshes, swamps, and along riverbanks. It can tolerate both standing water and fluctuating water levels, making it an important component of wetland ecosystems. The plant's extensive root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, while also providing habitat for a wide variety of invertebrates and small mammals.

One of the most notable features of yellow sedge is its ability to thrive in a wide range of soil types. It can grow in both acidic and alkaline soils, and is well adapted to nutrient-poor environments. This makes it a valuable species for wetland restoration and rehabilitation projects, as it can help to improve soil quality and support the growth of other wetland plants.

In addition to its ecological benefits, yellow sedge has a number of traditional medicinal uses. It has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples throughout the Northern Hemisphere to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders, respiratory infections, and skin conditions. The plant contains a number of bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, tannins, and flavonoids, that are believed to have therapeutic properties.

Despite its many benefits, yellow sedge is facing a number of threats in the modern world. Habitat loss and degradation due to human development, agricultural activities, and climate change are causing declines in populations of this and other wetland plants. Additionally, invasive species such as reed canary grass and purple loosestrife are outcompeting yellow sedge in many wetland ecosystems.

To ensure the continued survival of yellow sedge and other wetland plants, it is important to protect and restore these important habitats. Efforts to restore degraded wetlands can include the removal of invasive species, the planting of native vegetation, and the implementation of management strategies to maintain healthy wetland ecosystems. By protecting and preserving these important habitats, we can ensure that future generations can enjoy the many benefits provided by yellow sedge and other wetland plants.

Yellow sedge is an important species for many wetland-dependent animals, such as waterfowl, muskrats, and beavers, which rely on the plant for food and habitat. The dense root system of yellow sedge also helps to provide shelter and protection for fish and other aquatic organisms, making it an important component of healthy wetland ecosystems.

Yellow sedge is a popular ornamental plant and is often used in wetland gardens and landscaping projects. Its striking yellow-green foliage and unique texture make it a valuable addition to wetland-themed landscapes, and it can be grown in a variety of soil types and water conditions.

The plant is also an important food source for many herbivores, including deer and rabbits, which consume the leaves and stems of the plant. The plant's seeds are also consumed by a variety of small mammals and birds.

In addition to its ecological and aesthetic benefits, yellow sedge has a number of practical uses. The plant's long, fibrous leaves can be woven into baskets and mats, and the root system can be used to make cordage and rope. The plant has also been used historically to make paper, and its leaves can be used as a natural dye.

Yellow sedge is an important and versatile species that plays a key role in many wetland ecosystems. As with many wetland plants, it is facing numerous threats from human activities, climate change, and invasive species, and it is important to take steps to protect and restore these important habitats. By preserving wetlands and the many plant and animal species that depend on them, we can ensure a healthy and sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.

Yellow sedge is part of the Carex family, which is the largest genus of flowering plants in the world, with over 2,000 species. The genus is widely distributed across the Northern Hemisphere and is a dominant component of many wetland ecosystems. Other members of the Carex genus include sedges such as C. aquatilis, C. riparia, and C. utriculata.

Yellow sedge can be propagated through both seed and vegetative methods, and is often used in wetland restoration and rehabilitation projects. The plant can be used to stabilize soil, filter pollutants from water, and provide habitat and food for a variety of wetland-dependent species.

Research has also shown that yellow sedge and other wetland plants can help to mitigate the impacts of climate change by sequestering carbon in wetland soils. Wetlands are some of the most efficient carbon sinks on the planet, and preserving and restoring these important habitats can help to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

In conclusion, yellow sedge is an important and versatile species that plays a key role in many wetland ecosystems. Its ecological, aesthetic, and practical benefits make it a valuable plant for wetland restoration and rehabilitation projects, and its traditional medicinal and cultural uses highlight its importance to human societies throughout history. By protecting and preserving wetland habitats and the many species that depend on them, we can ensure a healthy and sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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