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Life in Freshwater

Sedges (Carex spp)

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Flower of Sedge

There are more than a hundred different species sedge in Europe. All have a triangular stem compared to rushes which are cylindrical. They can grow tall to very tall, especially those sedges which are tussock forming. Leaves are up to 20 mm wide and flower spikes can be 150 mm long and drooping.

Sedges are species of fens and marshes. There are many different species each with their own niche. They are widespread across Europe.

C. flacca (Glaucous sedge) favours calcareous damp grassland and may be dwarfed in the undergrowth

C. nigra (Common Sedge) is abundant on most damp grassland. Perennial with rhizomes

The presence of air tissue inside allows oxygen to pass down to the roots which are in waterlogged conditions. They have a rhizome that extends underground to disperse the plant, shooting upwards on occasion to develop new plants. In early summer the male flower is distinct with bright yellow anthers. The stigma is enclosed in a sac which protects the developing seed. These glumes, as they are known, are black in the Common Sedge



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