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Curved Sedge

Carex maritima

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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, 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, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Beaches, gardens, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside.

Brown, no petals
Flower spikes, almost globular. Dark brown glumes.
Blackish-brown fruit (nutlets).
A perennial low-growing, creeping sedge with very narrow and often curved, grass-like leaves.
Other Names:
Sea Sedge.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Carex maritima, also known as Sea Sedge, 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 coastal habitats such as dunes, salt marshes, and sandy beaches. 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.


Curved Sedge, or Carex maritima, is a plant species that is commonly found in coastal areas of Europe and Asia. It is a perennial plant that belongs to the family Cyperaceae, and it is characterized by its long, narrow leaves and distinctive curved stems.

One of the most interesting features of Curved Sedge is its ability to adapt to different environments. It can grow in a wide range of habitats, from sandy beaches and salt marshes to rocky cliffs and heathlands. This adaptability has made it an important plant for stabilizing coastal dunes and preventing erosion.

In terms of its physical characteristics, Curved Sedge has long, narrow leaves that can reach up to 40cm in length. The leaves are dark green in color and have a waxy texture, which helps to prevent water loss in windy coastal environments. The plant also has distinctive curved stems, which can reach up to 80cm in height. These stems are triangular in shape and are typically brown or reddish-brown in color.

Curved Sedge produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are arranged in clusters on long stalks. The flowers are wind-pollinated and produce small, triangular fruits that contain a single seed.

One of the most important ecological functions of Curved Sedge is its role in stabilizing coastal dunes. The plant has a deep root system that helps to anchor sand in place, preventing erosion and allowing other plants to establish themselves. Curved Sedge also provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

In addition to its ecological importance, Curved Sedge has also been used for a variety of human purposes. In some regions, the plant has been used for thatching roofs and making baskets, while its leaves have been used to make mats and other woven goods.

Overall, Curved Sedge is a fascinating plant species with a wide range of ecological and cultural significance. Its ability to adapt to different environments and its role in stabilizing coastal dunes make it an important plant for conservation and restoration efforts in coastal areas.

Here's some more information about Curved Sedge:

Habitat and Distribution: Curved Sedge is native to coastal regions of Europe and Asia, and it is found in a wide variety of habitats, including sand dunes, salt marshes, heathlands, and rocky cliffs. It is especially common in coastal areas of northern and western Europe, from the United Kingdom and Ireland to Norway and Sweden.

Ecological Importance: Curved Sedge is an important plant species in coastal ecosystems, where it plays a critical role in stabilizing sand dunes and preventing erosion. Its deep root system helps to anchor sand in place, while its above-ground stems and leaves help to trap sand and build up dune systems over time. Curved Sedge also provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

Cultural Significance: Curved Sedge has been used for a variety of human purposes throughout history. In some regions, it has been used for thatching roofs and making baskets, while its leaves have been used to make mats and other woven goods. The plant has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including fevers, headaches, and urinary tract infections.

Conservation Status: Curved Sedge is considered a "Least Concern" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning that it is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction. However, like many plant species that are adapted to coastal environments, it is vulnerable to habitat destruction and climate change. Conservation efforts to protect and restore coastal habitats, including sand dunes and salt marshes, are critical for the long-term survival of Curved Sedge and other coastal plant species.

Here are some additional facts about Curved Sedge:

  • The Latin name for Curved Sedge, Carex maritima, means "sea sedge," reflecting its common occurrence in coastal areas.
  • Curved Sedge is a highly variable species, with a range of different forms and ecotypes adapted to different coastal habitats.
  • In addition to stabilizing sand dunes and preventing erosion, Curved Sedge is also important for its ability to filter pollutants from runoff and trap sediment, helping to maintain water quality in coastal ecosystems.
  • Curved Sedge is one of several sedge species that are commonly found in coastal dunes and marshes. Other notable species include Lyme Grass (Leymus arenarius), Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima), and Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum).
  • Curved Sedge is an excellent plant for use in coastal gardens and landscaping, as it is tolerant of salt spray and windy conditions. It can also be grown in containers, making it a good choice for balcony or rooftop gardens in coastal areas.
  • In some regions, Curved Sedge is considered an invasive species, as it can spread rapidly in disturbed coastal habitats and outcompete native plant species. Conservation efforts often involve removing invasive species and restoring native plant communities to promote ecosystem health and biodiversity.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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