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Slender Sedge

Carex lasiocarpa

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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 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:
70 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, fens, gardens, meadows, riverbanks, swamps, water, waterside, wetland.

Green, no petals
The 1 to 3 male flower spikes are up to 7cm long. The 1 to 3 well-spaced female flower spikes reach 3cm in length.
Greyish, oval, downy achenes (nutlets). Up to 4mm long. In fruit from July to September.
Greyish-green leaves and glossy on the undersides. Inrolled leaf margins and short blunt ligules. Perennial.
Other Names:
Narrow-leaved Woolly Sedge, Woolly Sedge, Woollyfruit Sedge.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex lasiocarpa, also known as Woolly Sedge, is a species of sedge in the Cyperaceae family. It is native to North America, found mainly in Canada and the United States, typically grows in wet meadows, bogs, and along streambanks. It has brownish-green, triangular stems and narrow, elongated leaves that are typically 1/4 inch wide. The flowers are inconspicuous and are arranged in a dense spike at the top of the stem. This species can grow up to 3 feet tall. Carex lasiocarpa is a useful plant for landscaping in wet or poorly-drained areas, and it is also an important plant for wildlife habitat.


Slender sedge, or Carex lasiocarpa, is a plant species that is native to many regions of the northern hemisphere. It is commonly found in wetland areas, such as bogs and fens, where it plays an important role in ecosystem function. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at this interesting and valuable plant.

Description of Slender Sedge

Slender sedge is a perennial plant that typically grows to a height of between 20 and 70 cm. Its leaves are long and narrow, with a characteristic pale green color. The plant produces flowers on spikes that grow up to 15 cm long. The flowers are greenish-brown in color and are arranged in groups of two to five. Slender sedge has a shallow root system, which allows it to absorb nutrients and water from the surface of the soil.

Habitat of Slender Sedge

As mentioned, Slender sedge is typically found in wetland areas, such as bogs and fens. These habitats are characterized by a high water table and acidic soils, which provide ideal growing conditions for the plant. Slender sedge is also able to tolerate cold temperatures, making it well-suited to the northern regions of the world.

Ecological Importance of Slender Sedge

Slender sedge plays an important role in the ecology of wetland ecosystems. Its shallow root system helps to stabilize the soil, preventing erosion and protecting the habitat of other wetland species. The plant is also able to absorb and store large amounts of water, helping to regulate the water balance in the wetland. Slender sedge provides important habitat and food for a wide range of wetland animals, including insects, birds, and mammals. Some species of birds, such as the sedge wren, are highly dependent on wetland habitats and the plants that grow within them, including Slender sedge.

Human Uses of Slender Sedge

While Slender sedge is not typically used for human consumption, it does have some practical applications. The plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis and bladder infections. The fibrous roots of the plant have also been used to make cordage and basketry.

Conservation Status of Slender Sedge

Despite the important ecological role that Slender sedge plays, it is currently facing a number of threats. Wetland habitats are under increasing pressure from human development, and many wetland species are facing habitat loss and degradation. In some areas, invasive species are also competing with Slender sedge for resources. As a result, Slender sedge is classified as a species of concern in many regions.

Slender sedge is an interesting and valuable plant that plays an important role in wetland ecosystems. Its ability to stabilize soil, absorb water, and provide habitat and food for wetland animals make it an important component of these unique and fragile ecosystems. As with many wetland species, however, Slender sedge is facing a number of threats and requires conservation efforts to ensure its continued survival.

Ecology and Biology of Slender Sedge

Slender sedge is a member of the sedge family, Cyperaceae, which contains around 5,500 species of plants. Within the genus Carex, there are over 2,000 species, making it one of the largest genera of flowering plants in the world.

Slender sedge is adapted to the wetland environment in several ways. Its narrow leaves and shallow root system allow it to absorb nutrients and water from the surface of the soil, which is important in wetland areas where the water table is high. The plant is also able to tolerate periods of flooding and has been shown to grow in waterlogged soil for extended periods of time. Slender sedge is able to do this through the development of specialized structures known as aerenchyma. Aerenchyma are air-filled spaces in the plant's tissues that allow for the exchange of gases between the roots and the atmosphere. This enables Slender sedge to take up oxygen from the air and release carbon dioxide, even when the soil is waterlogged.

Slender sedge also has an interesting reproductive strategy. The plant is capable of both sexual reproduction through the production of seeds, and asexual reproduction through the development of clonal colonies. Clonal colonies are groups of plants that are genetically identical to each other, and they can be formed when a single plant sends out new shoots, or "ramets," that develop into new plants. This ability to reproduce both sexually and asexually allows Slender sedge to respond to changing environmental conditions and to persist in wetland habitats even under unfavorable conditions.

Conservation Efforts

Due to the importance of Slender sedge in wetland ecosystems and the threats that it is facing, there are a number of conservation efforts underway to protect the plant and its habitat. In some areas, wetlands are being restored or created to provide suitable habitat for Slender sedge and other wetland species. In other areas, invasive species are being removed to reduce competition with native plants like Slender sedge. Additionally, efforts are being made to educate the public about the value of wetland habitats and the need to protect them.

Slender sedge is an important and fascinating plant species that plays a vital role in the ecology of wetland ecosystems. Its ability to stabilize soil, absorb water, and provide habitat and food for wetland animals make it an integral part of these unique and fragile habitats. However, like many wetland species, Slender sedge is facing a number of threats and requires conservation efforts to ensure its continued survival. By working to protect and restore wetland habitats, we can help to ensure that Slender sedge and other wetland species can continue to thrive for generations to come.

More Interesting Facts

Here are some additional interesting facts about Slender sedge:

  1. Slender sedge is also known by the common names "northern sedge" and "southern sedge," depending on where it is found.

  2. Slender sedge is an important food source for a variety of wetland animals, including muskrats, beavers, and waterfowl.

  3. The roots of Slender sedge have been used by Indigenous people for medicinal purposes, to treat ailments such as stomach problems and coughs.

  4. Slender sedge is a "bioindicator" species, meaning that its presence or absence can be used to assess the overall health of wetland ecosystems. If Slender sedge is thriving, it is a good indication that the wetland is healthy and functioning properly.

  5. Slender sedge has an interesting relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi form a mutualistic relationship with the roots of Slender sedge, providing the plant with nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates produced by the plant. This relationship allows Slender sedge to thrive in nutrient-poor soils.

  6. Slender sedge is a hardy plant, capable of surviving in some of the harshest environments on Earth. It has been found growing at high elevations in the Rocky Mountains, as well as in Arctic tundra regions.

In summary, Slender sedge is a remarkable plant species with unique adaptations and important ecological functions. As we continue to learn more about wetland ecosystems and the role that Slender sedge and other wetland species play in them, it becomes increasingly clear that these habitats are worth protecting and conserving for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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