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Hairy Sedge - Carex hirta
Family - Cyperaceae
Also known as - Hammer sedge

Hairy Sedge is a common creeping perennial small sedge species, native to the UK (rare in north Scotland) and Europe but an introduced species in North America, first recorded in the 1870's.  It grows to around 70cm (28in) tall with leaves 15-50cm (6-20in) long and 5mm wide(0.2in), it is the type species for Carex.  It will be seen from April to September in meadows, damp grassland, rough grassy places, open woodland and pond margins.  The flowers are monoecious, individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant, and are pollinated by the wind.

Seeds are produced from June to July.  Stems (culms) are roughly triangular and with characteristically hairy leaves and inflorescences.  Each culm bears 2 or 3 lateral female spikes each 10-45mm (0.4-1.8in) long and on partially sheathed stems up to twice the length of the spike.  There are 2 or 3 male spikes at the end of the culm, each 10-30mm (0.4-.2in) long.  The hairy nature of Hairy Sedge makes it hard to confuse with any other Carex species.

Hairy Sedge - Carex hirta, click for a larger image Hairy Sedge - Carex hirta, click for a larger image Hairy Sedge - Carex hirta, click for a larger image Hairy Sedge - Carex hirta, click for a larger image
Click any photo for a larger image - photos ©2004 -

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