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False Fox Sedge

Carex otrubae

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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 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:
1 metre tall
Ditches, fens, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, marshes, meadows, roadsides, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, swamps, waterside, wetland.

Green, no petals
Greenish-brown flower spikes, up to 7cm in length. The flower often have long lower bracts.
Fruits in September. The fruits are achenes (nutlets).
A densely tufted plant with linear leaves which are up to 1cm wide. Finely toothed. Pointed ligules. Triangular stems in cross-section. Perennial.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex otrubae, also known as false fox-sedge, is a species of flowering plant in the family Cyperaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, and typically grows in wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, and wet meadows. The plant has narrow, pointed leaves and small spikes of brownish-green flowers. It is known to be a good alternative to lawns in damp areas. It is tolerant to both drought and waterlogged soil, but prefers a moist soil. It is a hardy species that can tolerate poor soil conditions and is often used in landscaping and erosion control.


False Fox Sedge, or Carex otrubae, is a perennial sedge that belongs to the family Cyperaceae. It is native to Europe, where it is commonly found in wetland habitats, such as fens, marshes, and wet meadows. The plant has also been introduced to North America and can be found in wetlands in certain regions of the United States and Canada.

The False Fox Sedge can grow up to 3 feet tall and has long, narrow leaves that are dark green in color. It is an attractive plant, with a distinctive triangular stem that is smooth and shiny. The plant is monoecious, meaning that it produces both male and female flowers on the same plant. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, with the male flowers located at the top of the stem and the female flowers located at the base.

One of the unique features of False Fox Sedge is its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It can grow in both acidic and alkaline soils and can also tolerate periods of drought. However, the plant prefers to grow in wet soils and is often found in areas with high water tables.

False Fox Sedge is an important plant in wetland ecosystems, as it provides habitat and food for a variety of animals. The plant’s seeds and foliage are eaten by a number of small mammals, such as voles and mice, and also provide cover for nesting birds.

Despite its ecological importance, False Fox Sedge is not widely cultivated for ornamental purposes. This is likely due to its preference for wet soils and its relatively unremarkable appearance. However, the plant can be useful in wetland restoration projects, as it is a hardy species that can help stabilize soils and prevent erosion.

In terms of medicinal uses, False Fox Sedge has been used in traditional European medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders and menstrual cramps. However, there is little scientific evidence to support these claims, and the plant should not be used for medicinal purposes without the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

False Fox Sedge is an important plant in wetland ecosystems, providing habitat and food for a variety of animals. While it may not be widely cultivated for ornamental purposes, it is a hardy species that can be useful in wetland restoration projects. Additionally, it has a long history of use in traditional medicine, although more research is needed to fully understand its potential health benefits.

In addition to its ecological and potential medicinal uses, False Fox Sedge also has cultural significance. In some regions of Europe, the plant has been used for thatching roofs, as its long, narrow leaves can be woven together to create a waterproof layer. This technique has been used for centuries and is still practiced in some areas today.

False Fox Sedge is also an important plant in the world of botany, as it is one of the many species in the genus Carex. The genus Carex is one of the largest genera of flowering plants, with over 2,000 species worldwide. Carex species are important indicators of wetland health, as they are often found in wetland habitats and are sensitive to changes in water quality and other environmental factors.

False Fox Sedge is a relatively low-maintenance plant and is easy to grow from seed. It can be propagated by dividing established clumps, although this is best done in the spring. The plant prefers full sun to partial shade and should be grown in a moist soil with good drainage.

Overall, False Fox Sedge is a fascinating plant with a rich history and important ecological and cultural significance. While it may not be well-known outside of the world of botany, it plays a vital role in the functioning of wetland ecosystems and provides important benefits to a variety of animals. As such, it is a plant that is deserving of our attention and appreciation.

In addition to its use in thatching roofs, False Fox Sedge has also been used in other traditional crafts. For example, the plant's tough stems have been used to make baskets, mats, and other woven goods. These traditional crafts are still practiced in some regions today, and can be a way to preserve cultural heritage and support local economies.

The plant's seeds have also been used as a food source in some regions. The seeds can be ground into flour and used to make bread or porridge. While the seeds are not commonly used as a food source today, they have potential as a high-protein, gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.

In terms of its conservation status, False Fox Sedge is considered to be of "least concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is due in part to its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and its adaptability to changing environments. However, like many wetland species, it is at risk from habitat loss and degradation. Wetland restoration projects can help to preserve and enhance populations of False Fox Sedge and other wetland species.

In conclusion, False Fox Sedge is a fascinating plant with a rich history and important ecological, cultural, and potential culinary significance. While it may not be well-known outside of certain circles, it has much to offer and is deserving of further study and appreciation.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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