Spring-sedge - Carex caryophyllea

Alternative names
Spring Sedge

A sedge with short, creeping rhizomes, with dark brown, rather shiny basal scales that become fibrous. Rather short stemmed, usually only 2 to 20 cm tall, though may be more when competing in longer grass. The stem is sharply three angled, bearing several recurved, shiny, bright green leaves 1.5 to 2.5 mm wide. The male flower is a red brown club shaped spikelet, 10 to 15 mm long. There are 1 to 3 ovoid female spikelets.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

This species has a red ID rating and unless identified by a known expert you must provide a satisfactory explanation of how it was identified for the record to be accepted.


On dry grassland in short turf, especially on calcareous soil.

When to see it

Fruiting May to July.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland, being more frequent in the west of our area than in the east. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 23 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map