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Long-bracted Sedge

Carex extensa

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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, 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:
150 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, gardens, marshes, riverbanks, riversides, rocky places, saltmarshes, sea cliffs, seaside, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
A single male spike surrounded by several wider female spikes, often scattered down the stem. Reddish-brown glumes. The lowest spike is often stalked and has a very long bract. The bract is sometimes curved downwards.
A long-beaked achene (nutlet). Greyish-green or brown.
Long-bracted Sedge is a tufted perennial with stiff, greyish-green, grooved leaves, measuring up to 3mm in width.
Other Names:
Longbract Sedge.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Carex extensa is a species of sedge that is native to North America, specifically in Canada and the United States. It is a perennial herb that typically grows in wetland habitats such as marshes, bogs, and along the edges of streams and rivers. The plant has long, narrow leaves and small, inconspicuous brownish or greenish flowers that grow in spikes. It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens and is also sometimes grown for its medicinal properties. It is considered a common species in many areas and not considered of conservation concern.


Long-bracted Sedge (Carex extensa) is a plant species that belongs to the Cyperaceae family. It is native to the eastern and central regions of North America and can be found in a wide range of habitats, including wetlands, meadows, forests, and disturbed areas. This sedge is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.5 meters in height and has long, narrow leaves that are dark green in color.

One of the most distinctive features of Long-bracted Sedge is its inflorescence, which consists of a spike of densely packed flowers that are surrounded by long bracts. The flowers are typically green or brown in color and are wind-pollinated. Long-bracted Sedge blooms from May to July and produces fruits that are small, dry, and enclosed in a sac-like structure known as a perigynium.

Long-bracted Sedge is an important plant for wetland ecosystems. It provides food and habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including waterfowl, songbirds, and small mammals. Additionally, the roots of Long-bracted Sedge help to stabilize wetland soils, prevent erosion, and filter pollutants from the water.

Despite its ecological importance, Long-bracted Sedge faces several threats in the wild. Wetland destruction and fragmentation, invasive species, and pollution are all major threats to Long-bracted Sedge and its habitat. Climate change is also expected to impact the distribution and abundance of Long-bracted Sedge and other wetland plants in the coming years.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect Long-bracted Sedge and its habitat. Wetland restoration projects and the establishment of protected areas can help to conserve Long-bracted Sedge and other wetland plants. Additionally, efforts to control invasive species and reduce pollution can also benefit Long-bracted Sedge and its ecosystem.

Long-bracted Sedge is an important plant species for wetland ecosystems in North America. It provides habitat and food for wildlife, helps to stabilize wetland soils, and filters pollutants from the water. However, Long-bracted Sedge faces several threats, including wetland destruction, invasive species, and pollution. Conservation efforts are needed to protect Long-bracted Sedge and its habitat for future generations.

Long-bracted Sedge has a range of cultural and historical significance as well. Indigenous peoples in North America have long used sedge plants for a variety of purposes, including for food, medicine, and basket weaving. Long-bracted Sedge, in particular, has been used for basket weaving and as a source of food by various indigenous groups, such as the Menominee and Ojibwe peoples.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, Long-bracted Sedge has potential for use in ecological restoration projects. Its extensive root system makes it a useful plant for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion, and its ability to filter pollutants from water makes it a valuable plant for wetland remediation projects.

To identify Long-bracted Sedge, one can look for its long, narrow leaves and long bracts that surround its inflorescence. The inflorescence itself is made up of densely packed flowers that are either green or brown in color, depending on the stage of growth. Long-bracted Sedge can be found in a variety of habitats, but is most commonly found in wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, and bogs.

In terms of cultivation, Long-bracted Sedge can be propagated by seed or by division of the rhizomes. It is important to plant the sedge in a location with adequate moisture and to avoid planting it in areas where it could become invasive. Long-bracted Sedge is not typically grown for ornamental purposes, but its attractive foliage and unique inflorescence could make it an interesting addition to a wetland garden.

Overall, Long-bracted Sedge is a plant species with a rich ecological, cultural, and historical significance. Its importance to wetland ecosystems and potential for use in ecological restoration projects make it a valuable plant for conservation and preservation efforts.

One interesting aspect of Long-bracted Sedge is its ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Research has shown that Long-bracted Sedge is capable of adjusting its growth and reproductive patterns in response to variations in temperature and precipitation. This adaptability may help Long-bracted Sedge to survive and thrive in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges.

Another notable feature of Long-bracted Sedge is its role as a host plant for a variety of insects. The larvae of several moth and butterfly species feed exclusively on sedge plants, including Long-bracted Sedge. These insects are an important food source for many bird species, making Long-bracted Sedge an important part of local food webs.

Long-bracted Sedge is also a useful plant for erosion control and water quality improvement. Its deep, fibrous root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, while its ability to filter pollutants from water makes it a valuable plant for wetland remediation projects.

While Long-bracted Sedge is an important plant species for wetland ecosystems, it is also at risk from a variety of threats. Habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change are all major threats to Long-bracted Sedge and its habitat. Conservation efforts, such as wetland restoration and protected area establishment, are needed to ensure long-term survival of Long-bracted Sedge and other wetland plants.

In conclusion, Long-bracted Sedge is a valuable plant species for wetland ecosystems in North America, providing habitat and food for wildlife, stabilizing soil, and filtering pollutants from water. Its cultural and historical significance, adaptability to changing environmental conditions, and potential for use in ecological restoration projects make it an important plant for conservation and preservation efforts. By protecting Long-bracted Sedge and its habitat, we can help to ensure the survival of this important plant species for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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