This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This common sedge is found throughout the N. Temperate Zone in Europe, N. Africa, Siberia, and N. America. It is not known in any early deposits. In Great Britain it does not grow in Cardigan, Isle of Man, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Roxburgh, Stirling, Mid and N. Perth, Easterness, Westerness, Main Argyle, E. Ross, E. Sutherland, Caithness, Orkneys, Shetlands, but elsewhere generally, and in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
The Great Prickly Sedge is a common object wherever damp ground occurs. It grows in moist hollows by the roadside, around ponds, pools, and in ditches, as well as more generally and profusely in wet meadows, marshes, and bogs.
Photo. L. R. J. Horn - Hummock Sedge
Open aquatic vegetation, with reed swamp, of reed, etc., invading the former, and marginal association of fen carr, with scrub of Willow, Sweet Gale, Alder, etc, with Hummock Sedge.
The stems are few, 3-angled, with sharp, rough edges and convex sides, from a tufted base, and stoloniferous, with creeping runners. The leaves are rather broad and flat, glossy, and fairly long.
The flowers are in a more or less cylindrical compound spike with many crowded flowers, the male ones above, spreading, with bristlelike bracts which are longer than the spike, and suberect. The fruit is egg-shaped, coming to a sharp point, plano-convex, pale-green, with an egg-shaped, brownish nut. The glumes are pale-brown, with a roughish awn. This tall sedge is 1 - 1 1/2 ft. or more in height. Flowers are found in May, up till August. The plant is a perennial, propagated by suckers.
This common sedge has a floral mechanism similar to C. paniculata, and is likewise proterogyn-ous and pollinated by the wind. The fruit is a nut, and when it is ripe it falls to the ground close to the parent plant.
Beetles are commonly found on this and allied sedges, e.g. Dromius longiceps, D. sigma, Donacia obscura, D. thalassina, D. impressa, D. vulgaris, D. affinis, Chastocnema Sahlbergi. Several Lepidoptera are fond of sedges, such as Smoky Wainscot (Leucania impura), Small Wainscot (Nonagria fulva), Hydrelia incana, Gold Spot (Plusia festucoe), Elachista gleichenella, E. kilmunella, E. rhynchosporella, E.eleochariella. The Homoptera Liburnia pullala, L. lugubrina, Dicra-neura flavipennis, D. aureola also frequent them.
Photo. Flatters & Garnett - Great Prickly Sedge (Carex vulpina, L.)
The second Latin name means fox-coloured, in allusion to the colour of the flowers.
Essential Specific Characters: 327. Carex vulpina, L. - Stems numerous, rough, tufted, broad, spikelets in a compound spike, cylindrical, bracts long, setaceous.