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Large Yellow Sedge

Carex flava

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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, 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:
80 centimetres tall
Meadows, riversides, swamps, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, no petals
Very spiky looking, yellow flowerheads. Each flowerhead is about 2cm in length. The female glumes are orangish-brown. The glumes of the similar-looking Yellow Sedge (Carex viridula) are nearer to brown in colour.
The fruit is an achene. There are approximately 35 fruits per tight cluster. The fruits of Large Yellow Sedge are yellower than those of Yellow Sedge.
The leaves of Large Yellow Sedge are similar to those of Yellow Sedge but are bright yellowish-green and larger. The stems of this plant are also 3-sided. Large Yellow Sedge is a rare species which can be found at Roudsea Wood in Cumbria. It is also found (but rare) at Malham in North Yorkshire.
Other Names:
Marsh Hedgehog Grass, Yellow Sedge.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex flava, also known as Yellow Sedge, is a species of flowering plant in the Cyperaceae family. It is native to North America and can be found in wet meadows, swamps, and along streams. It is a perennial plant with long, narrow leaves and spikes of small, yellow flowers. It is typically about 2-3 feet tall, and prefers full sun to partial shade. It is considered a valuable plant for wildlife habitat and erosion control.


Carex flava, commonly known as Large Yellow Sedge, is a species of flowering plant in the sedge family, Cyperaceae. It is a perennial grass-like plant that is native to Europe, and can be found in wetlands, bogs, and meadows.

Appearance: Large Yellow Sedge is a tall, clumping sedge that can grow up to 80 cm in height. Its leaves are long and narrow, typically around 3-6 mm in width, and have a distinctive yellow-green color. The stems of Large Yellow Sedge are triangular and can be up to 4 mm thick. Its flowers are borne on long, thin spikes, which can be up to 10 cm long.

Ecology: Large Yellow Sedge is a common plant in wetland habitats, such as fens, bogs, and wet meadows. It prefers moist, acidic soils and is often found in areas with a high water table. In these habitats, it plays an important role in the ecosystem, providing shelter and food for a range of wetland animals, such as birds, mammals, and insects. The plant also helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

Uses: Large Yellow Sedge has a number of traditional uses. In the past, it was used to make baskets and mats, as well as for thatching roofs. The plant has also been used for medicinal purposes, particularly for treating wounds and skin infections. Today, Large Yellow Sedge is often used in landscaping and garden design, particularly in water gardens and bog gardens.

Conservation status: Large Yellow Sedge is a common species throughout much of its range, although it is considered rare in some countries, such as the United Kingdom. In some areas, it is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, particularly through the drainage and development of wetlands.

Large Yellow Sedge is a fascinating plant that plays an important role in wetland ecosystems. Its distinctive appearance and traditional uses make it a valuable and interesting species, while its ecological value makes it an important component of wetland conservation efforts.

More Information

Large Yellow Sedge is a plant that is relatively easy to grow and maintain, making it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers. It thrives in moist, acidic soils and prefers full sun to partial shade. It is also tolerant of a range of soil types, making it a versatile plant for a range of garden settings.

In addition to its uses in landscaping, Large Yellow Sedge is also being studied for its potential in phytoremediation, which is the use of plants to remove pollutants from the soil. Because it is a wetland plant, Large Yellow Sedge has the ability to absorb excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can help to improve water quality.

Large Yellow Sedge is just one of the many species of sedges, which are an important component of wetland ecosystems. The sedge family, Cyperaceae, includes around 5,500 species, making it one of the largest families of flowering plants. Sedges play an important role in wetland ecosystems, providing habitat and food for a range of animals, as well as helping to regulate water flow and prevent erosion.

Large Yellow Sedge is a fascinating and versatile plant that has a range of uses and benefits. Its distinctive appearance, traditional uses, and ecological value make it a valuable species for both gardeners and conservationists alike.

Large Yellow Sedge is a species that is adapted to living in wetland habitats, which can be challenging environments for many other types of plants. One of the adaptations that makes this possible is its ability to grow in anaerobic soils, where oxygen is in short supply. In these soils, Large Yellow Sedge is able to carry out a process called anaerobic respiration, which allows it to extract energy from organic compounds without the need for oxygen.

Another interesting feature of Large Yellow Sedge is its role in seed dispersal. The plant produces small, light seeds that are easily dispersed by wind or water. The seeds are also covered in a sticky substance that helps them to adhere to the fur or feathers of passing animals, which can transport them to new locations.

Large Yellow Sedge is also an important food source for a range of wetland animals. Its leaves are grazed by a variety of herbivores, such as geese, deer, and muskrats, while its seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.

In terms of conservation, Large Yellow Sedge is an important species to monitor, particularly in areas where wetland habitats are under threat. In many parts of Europe, wetlands have been drained and converted for agricultural use or development, which has resulted in the loss of many wetland species, including Large Yellow Sedge. Conservation efforts that focus on preserving and restoring wetland habitats can help to ensure that this important species continues to thrive in the future.

In summary, Large Yellow Sedge is a plant that has a range of fascinating features and ecological benefits. Its adaptations to wetland habitats, role in seed dispersal, and importance as a food source for wetland animals all make it a valuable species to study and conserve.


Large Yellow Sedge filmed at Roudsea Wood and Mosses Nature Reserve, Cumbria on the 13th August 2023.


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Distribution Map

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