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Dioecious Sedge

Carex dioica

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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, 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:
1 metre tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, marshes, moorland, riverbanks, riversides, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
Short brown flower spikes, no longer than 2cm. Reddish-brown glumes. 2 stigmas.
The fruit is a nutlet, reddish-brown in colour. The end abruptly narrows into a short beak.
Very narrow leaves, less than 1mm in width.
Other Names:
Separate-headed Sedge, Two-staminate Sedge.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Carex dioica, also known as two-staminate sedge, is a species of perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It typically grows in wet habitats such as bogs, fens, and along the edges of streams and ponds. It can grow up to 100 cm tall, and has narrow, green leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers that are arranged in spikes. The spikes are typically green to brown in color. It is often used in landscaping and gardening as an attractive and hardy plant for damp or wet areas, but also can be found in natural habitats. It can be distinguished from other species of Carex by the presence of separate male and female spikes on the same plant.


Carex dioica, commonly known as Dioecious Sedge, is a perennial plant species that belongs to the family Cyperaceae. It is native to North America, Europe, and Asia and is commonly found in wetland areas such as bogs, marshes, and fens.

Dioecious Sedge is a distinctive plant species due to its dioecious nature, which means that male and female flowers are found on separate plants. The plants typically grow up to 40-100 cm in height and have a basal clump of leaves that are narrow and grass-like. The leaves can grow up to 60 cm long and 4 mm wide and are dark green in color.

The plant flowers from May to June and produces spikes that are yellow-green in color. The male and female spikes are found on separate plants, with the male spikes growing up to 8 cm long and the female spikes growing up to 12 cm long. The male flowers are located at the top of the spike, while the female flowers are located at the base of the spike.

Dioecious Sedge is an important plant species in wetland ecosystems, where it plays an important role in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion. It is also an important food source for many animals, including waterfowl, muskrats, and beavers.

In addition to its ecological importance, Dioecious Sedge has a long history of medicinal use by indigenous peoples. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, dysentery, and menstrual disorders. The plant has also been used as a food source, with the seeds being ground into flour and used to make bread.

Despite its importance, Dioecious Sedge is facing numerous threats. Wetland loss and degradation due to human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and peat mining have resulted in a decline in the plant's populations. Climate change is also expected to impact the plant's distribution and abundance in the future.

To conserve Dioecious Sedge, it is important to protect and restore wetland habitats where the plant occurs. Efforts should also be made to raise public awareness about the importance of wetland conservation and the ecological and cultural value of Dioecious Sedge. Conservation strategies should involve the active involvement of local communities and indigenous peoples to ensure that their knowledge and perspectives are taken into account. By working together, we can help ensure the survival of this important and fascinating plant species.

One of the interesting aspects of Dioecious Sedge is its unique reproductive strategy. Being dioecious, the plant's male and female flowers are found on separate plants, which means that cross-pollination is necessary for the production of seeds. This reproductive strategy makes Dioecious Sedge more vulnerable to habitat fragmentation and loss, as it requires a sufficient number of male and female plants to ensure successful reproduction.

The plant has also been the subject of numerous scientific studies, which have investigated its ecology, genetics, and physiology. Some studies have focused on the plant's ability to tolerate flooding and other environmental stresses, while others have looked at the plant's interactions with other species in the wetland ecosystem.

One interesting finding from recent research is that Dioecious Sedge may play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Wetlands are important carbon sinks, and the plant's ability to sequester carbon in the soil may help to offset some of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Dioecious Sedge also has cultural significance for many indigenous peoples, who have traditionally used the plant for food, medicine, and other purposes. For example, the plant's seeds have been used to make porridge and bread, while the leaves have been used for weaving baskets and mats. The plant is also believed to have spiritual and ceremonial significance in some cultures.

Dioecious Sedge is an important plant species that plays a vital role in wetland ecosystems and has cultural significance for many indigenous peoples. While the plant faces numerous threats, conservation efforts can help to ensure its survival and the preservation of the important ecological and cultural values associated with it. Continued scientific research can also help to deepen our understanding of this fascinating and important plant species.

One of the challenges in conserving Dioecious Sedge is that it can be difficult to distinguish from other sedge species, particularly when it is not in flower. This can make it difficult to accurately assess the plant's distribution and abundance, which is important for conservation planning and management.

To address this challenge, scientists have developed a range of techniques for identifying Dioecious Sedge, including molecular markers and morphological traits. For example, the plant can be distinguished from other sedge species by its narrow, dark green leaves and the arrangement of its male and female flowers on separate plants.

Conservation efforts for Dioecious Sedge can take many forms, depending on the specific threats facing the plant in a given location. In some cases, habitat restoration and protection may be the most effective approach, while in other cases, invasive species control or mitigation of human impacts may be necessary.

One promising approach for conserving Dioecious Sedge is the use of ex situ conservation methods, such as seed banking or cultivation in botanical gardens. This can help to ensure that the plant's genetic diversity is preserved and that it can be reintroduced into the wild if necessary.

Overall, the conservation of Dioecious Sedge is important for the preservation of wetland ecosystems and the cultural heritage of many indigenous peoples. By working together to address the challenges facing the plant, we can help to ensure that it continues to play its important ecological and cultural roles in the future.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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