Carex Claviformis Hoppe

Considered by some a sub-species of C. flacca. It is usually greener, larger, and more robust, with thick, knotted stolons. Female spikelets loose near the base, denser and rounder at the apex, which makes them almost club-shaped. Fruit often reddish.

Damp Alpine and sub-alpine pastures and marshes, rather rare except in Switzerland. May to July.


Switzerland, Savoy, Mt. Cenis, and elsewhere in the Italian Alps, Tyrol, Carinthia, Carniola.

Carex Pallescens L. Pale Sedge

Stems tufted, slender, leafy at the base, about a foot high. Leaves narrow and pointed. Terminal spikelet male; female spikelets 2 or rarely 3, shortly stalked, usually slightly drooping, oblong, shorter than the male one and all at short distances below it. Bracts leafy, with a short sheathing base. Stigmas 3. Fruits obtuse, glabrous.

Damp mountain pastures and woods; widely spread. May, June.


Europe, Northern and Arctic Asia, N. America. British.

Carex Sylvatica L. Wood Sedge

Stem 1-2 feet high, slender, tufted at the base. Leaves and leaf-bracts flaccid, the latter with long sheaths. The leaves are broader than in any of the previous species. Terminal spikelet male, about an inch long, lower spikelets 2-4, usually all female, slightly longer, loose-flowered on slender stalks and at length more or less drooping. Glumes very pointed. Stigmas 3. Fruit glabrous, with a long beak.

Woods and shady ravines, widely spread.


Europe and Russian Asia, except extreme North. British.

Carex Strigosa Hudson

Closely resembling C. sylvatica, but the female spikelets are longer (at least 2 inches long) and more slender, and the peduncles are much shorter and almost hidden in the long sheaths of the bracts. Glumes lanceolate, green. Fruits tapering to a point, but not in a long beak as in the last species. Stigmas 3.

Mountain woods; scarce but widely spread; rare in Switzerland. May, June.


Central and Northern Europe from France, Denmark and the British Isles to the Caucasus.

Carex Capillaris L

A small, slender plant 3-6 inches high, with extremely slender, rounded stems scarcely longer than the leaves. Terminal spikelet male, small. Female spikelets 2 or 3, lower down, on long capillary peduncles, so that they are nodding, distant, and lax. Female spikelet of 5-10 flowers, but the spikelet is very small and short. Bracts shortly leafy, the lower bract having a long sheath. Glumes scarious at the margins. Stigmas 3. Fruit trigonous, not nerved, tapering into a short beak.

Damp and sandy Alpine pastures, borders of springs and wet rocks in the Alps and sub-Alps, up to 8200 feet at least. July. Often growing with other Carices.


Alps; Pyrenees, Caucasus, Arctic Europe and Asia; North America; North Britain.