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Hop Sedge

Carex pseudocyperus

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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, 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:
120 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, fens, gardens, marshes, ponds, riverbanks, riversides, swamps, waterside, wetland.

Green, no petals
Short or long green spiky drooping catkins on slender stalks. Pendulous Sedge is similar-looking but the catkins are not spiky and nor are they on long stalks.
A small bottle-shaped nutlet.
Deciduous and tuft-forming, broad, grass-like leaves, up to 12mm wide. Like all sedges the leaves have a triangular cross-section.
Other Names:
Cypress Sedge, False Cyperus Sedge, Sedge Hop.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Carex pseudocyperus, also known as False Cyperus Sedge, is a species of sedge that is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. 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 as a common species in many areas, however, it is considered of conservation concern in some regions.


Hop sedge, scientific name Carex pseudocyperus, is a perennial sedge that is native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. It is also found in parts of North America, where it has been introduced. The plant is named for its spikelets, which resemble the hops used in brewing beer. Hop sedge is a member of the Cyperaceae family, which also includes other well-known sedges like papyrus and bulrushes.

Hop sedge typically grows in wet habitats such as swamps, marshes, and along the edges of streams and ponds. It has a distinctive appearance, with tall, triangular stems that can reach up to four feet in height. The stems are dark green and often have a reddish tinge, while the leaves are long and narrow, with a pointed tip. The plant produces inconspicuous flowers in late spring or early summer, followed by small, brownish-black fruits.

Hop sedge has a number of traditional medicinal uses. In some parts of Europe, the plant is used to treat digestive problems, while in other regions it is believed to have diuretic and antispasmodic properties. Hop sedge has also been used as a poultice to relieve pain and inflammation.

In addition to its medicinal uses, hop sedge is an important plant for wildlife. The seeds are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals, while the stems and leaves provide habitat for a range of insects, including butterflies and moths. The plant is also used as a food source by some indigenous communities, who harvest the roots and use them in soups and stews.

Despite its many benefits, hop sedge is sometimes considered a weed in certain contexts, particularly in agricultural areas where it can outcompete crops. However, in its native wetland habitats, the plant plays an important role in maintaining ecological balance and supporting a diverse array of species.

Hop sedge is a unique and important plant with a long history of medicinal and cultural significance. Whether you encounter it in the wild or in a garden setting, take a moment to appreciate the complex role it plays in the natural world.

Hop sedge is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers moist to wet soils and can even grow in standing water. However, it can also grow in well-drained soils, making it a versatile choice for gardens or natural landscaping projects. Hop sedge is also resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance plant that requires little care once established.

If you're interested in growing hop sedge in your own garden, it's important to choose a location with suitable growing conditions. The plant prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soils. It's also a good idea to mulch around the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Once established, hop sedge is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care. However, it's important to keep an eye on the plant's growth and prune it back as needed to prevent it from becoming too leggy. You can also divide the plant every few years to keep it from overcrowding its growing area.

In summary, hop sedge is a unique and versatile plant that can be a valuable addition to a garden or natural landscaping project. With its hardiness, adaptability, and ecological importance, it's a plant worth considering for anyone interested in sustainable and low-maintenance gardening practices.

Another interesting fact about hop sedge is that it has some cultural significance in certain regions. For example, in some parts of Europe, the plant was historically used to stuff mattresses and pillows due to its sweet, musky scent. The scent is thought to be similar to that of hops, hence the plant's common name "hop sedge."

In addition to its use in bedding, hop sedge has also been used to make traditional baskets and mats in some indigenous communities. The strong, flexible stems are ideal for weaving, and the plant's resilience and longevity make it a durable choice for these types of handicrafts.

In recent years, hop sedge has also gained attention as a potential bioenergy crop. The plant's high biomass and tolerance for wet growing conditions make it a promising source of renewable energy, particularly in areas where other crops may struggle to thrive.

Overall, hop sedge is a fascinating plant with a long and varied history of use. Whether you're interested in its ecological importance, cultural significance, or potential as a bioenergy crop, there's no denying that hop sedge is a plant with a lot to offer.


Hop Sedge filmed at Gait Barrows Nature Reserve, Lancashire on the 18th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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