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Few-flowered Sedge

Carex pauciflora

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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 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, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, meadows, moorland, riversides, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
A single terminal flower spike with a few spikes below it. 3 stigmas.
The fruit is an achene, up to 5mm in length. There are 2 to 6 achenes per flower spike. Similar to Flea Sedge (Carex pulicaris) but the fruit is straw-coloured rather than dark brown. In fruit during June and July.
Very narrow, slender, grass-like leaves. Perennial.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex pauciflora, also known as the few-flowered sedge, is a species of sedge native to North America. It is found in wetland habitats, such as bogs, fens, and wet meadows, as well as along streams and in other moist areas. The plant typically grows to be around 20-40 cm tall and has a clumping habit. The leaves are narrow and the flowers are small, inconspicuous and arranged in spikes. C. pauciflora is considered to be a species of special concern in some states in the USA.


Few-flowered sedge (Carex pauciflora) is a species of sedge that is native to many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a low-growing plant that typically reaches only a few centimeters in height, making it well adapted to harsh alpine environments. In this blog, we will take a closer look at this fascinating plant, including its habitat, characteristics, and uses.


Few-flowered sedge is found in a variety of habitats, including alpine tundra, rocky slopes, and meadows. It is often found growing in moist soil or in areas where there is frequent snowmelt. The plant is commonly found at high altitudes, where it is subjected to extreme weather conditions, including strong winds and low temperatures.


Few-flowered sedge is a small plant, with a height ranging from 3 to 15 cm. Its leaves are narrow and grass-like, and its stems are slender and wiry. The plant is distinguishable by its small, greenish-white flowers, which are borne on a slender, spike-like inflorescence. The flowers are arranged in groups of two or three, and they appear in late spring or early summer.


Few-flowered sedge has a number of uses, both traditional and modern. In some cultures, the plant has been used for centuries as a source of fiber, which is used to make baskets, mats, and other woven items. The plant's tough, fibrous leaves are also used as a traditional medicine for various ailments, including stomach problems, wounds, and fever.

In modern times, few-flowered sedge is increasingly being used as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes. Its low-growing habit, coupled with its hardy nature, makes it a great choice for rock gardens or as a groundcover in areas with harsh growing conditions.

In addition to its ornamental and traditional uses, few-flowered sedge also plays an important ecological role. It is a valuable food source for a variety of alpine wildlife, including small mammals and birds, and it helps to stabilize alpine soils by preventing erosion.

Few-flowered sedge is a fascinating plant that is well adapted to harsh alpine environments. Its small size, hardy nature, and usefulness make it an important plant for both humans and wildlife. Whether you are looking to add a touch of alpine beauty to your garden, or simply appreciate the resilience of plants that thrive in extreme environments, few-flowered sedge is a plant worth exploring.

More Information

Few-flowered sedge is just one of many species of sedge found around the world. The Carex genus is the largest genus of plants in the Cyperaceae family, with over 2,000 species. Many of these species, like few-flowered sedge, are well adapted to harsh environments and play important roles in their ecosystems.

In addition to its ecological and traditional uses, few-flowered sedge has also been studied for its potential medicinal properties. Some studies have found that the plant contains compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could have therapeutic applications. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of few-flowered sedge and other sedge species.

As with many alpine plants, few-flowered sedge is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As temperatures warm and alpine habitats shift, plants like few-flowered sedge may struggle to adapt. Conservation efforts are needed to protect these valuable plants and the ecosystems they support.

Few-flowered sedge is a fascinating plant that has played important roles in human and ecological systems for centuries. Its resilience and adaptability make it a valuable species for study and conservation, and its ornamental qualities make it a great addition to gardens and landscapes. As we continue to learn more about this and other sedge species, we can better appreciate the complex relationships between plants, animals, and the environments they inhabit.

Few-flowered sedge is also an important indicator species for alpine ecosystems. The plant is highly sensitive to changes in its environment, including changes in temperature, precipitation, and soil conditions. By monitoring the health and abundance of few-flowered sedge and other alpine plants, researchers and conservationists can better understand the impacts of climate change on these fragile ecosystems.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, few-flowered sedge also has aesthetic value. The plant's delicate flowers and grass-like foliage create a beautiful contrast against the rugged alpine landscape. Its low-growing habit makes it a popular choice for alpine rock gardens and other landscaped areas, where it can be used to create a natural-looking groundcover.

If you are interested in growing few-flowered sedge in your garden, it is important to select a location that mimics the plant's natural habitat. The plant prefers moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate partial shade, though it will thrive in full sun. It is also important to avoid overwatering, as few-flowered sedge is susceptible to rot if the soil is too wet.

In conclusion, few-flowered sedge is a remarkable plant that has played important roles in human and ecological systems for centuries. Its hardiness, usefulness, and beauty make it a valuable species to study, conserve, and appreciate. By learning more about this and other alpine plants, we can gain a better understanding of the intricate relationships between plants, animals, and their environments.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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