Sedge (Carex bromoides)


Top facts

  • The sedge is a perennial plant which normally lives for over two years.
  • The sedge reproduces asexually.
  • The sedge has two recognised subspecies.
  • The fruit of the sedge appears between March and May.
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Sedge fact file

Sedge description

GenusCarex (1)

The plants (Carex bromoides) is a perennial plant which grows in compact tufts (2). Its hollow stems, known as ‘culms’, grow very closely together from the root (3) (4) (5) and have a triangular cross-section and concave edges (5). Each stem has leaves growing from its base (2) which have rough borders (5) and are usually around three times as long as they are wide (4).

As in other members of the Cyperaceae family, the sedge has small, inconspicuous flowers which are arranged in erect ‘spikes’ (6). Groups of three to eight spikes are clustered together to form inflorescences (4), which have a mixture of female and male spikes, although there is usually a higher percentage of female spikes, which are known as ‘pistils(4).

The fruit of the plants, known as an ‘achene’, is dry and single seeded (4) (5). Similarly to other Carex species, the achene of the sedge is enclosed within a sac-like structure known as the ‘perigynium’ (4) (5), which is green to pale brown, veined (4) and lance-shaped in this species (5). Extending from the tip of the perigynium are two appendages, which are known as ‘beak teeth’ (4).

The sedge has two recognised subspecies: Carex bromoides bromoides and Carex bromoides montana (4) (7).

Also known as
brome hummock sedge, brome-like sedge.
Height: 22 - 88 cm (2)

Sedge biology

Like other Carex species, the plants has unisexual flowers, with each individual flower containing either male or female reproductive organs (4) (6). The fruit of the sedge appears between March and May (3).

A perennial species, the sedge usually lives for more than two years (5) (6) (7). It reproduces asexually, growing new stems from underground roots called ‘rhizomes(5) (6).


Sedge range

The range of the sedge extends across the eastern half of the United States and south-eastern Canada. This species is found from Texas in the west of the United States to Maine, Florida and Delaware in the east, and in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia in Canada (4) (5) (7).


Sedge habitat

The sedge inhabits moist habitats including floodplains, shores of rivers and lakes (2), swamps (2) (5), prairie bogs (5) and seeps in deciduous forests. The areas inhabited by this species are usually between elevations of 800 and 1,400 metres (3).


Sedge status

The sedge has not yet been assessed by the IUCN.


Sedge threats

There are not currently thought to be any threats to the plants.


Sedge conservation

There are not currently known to be any conservation measures in place for the plants.


Find out more

Find out more about the sedge:

Find out more about North American plant conservation:



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A simple single-seeded fruit that falls from the plant in one piece. Achenes usually in occur in clusters.
Of asexual reproduction: reproduction that does not involve the formation of sex cells (‘gametes’). In many species, asexual reproduction can occur by existing cells splitting into two, or part of the organism breaking away and developing into a separate individual. Some animals, including vertebrates, can also develop from unfertilised eggs; this process, known as parthenogenesis, gives rise to offspring that are genetically identical to the parent.
Deciduous forest
Forest consisting mainly of deciduous trees, which shed their leaves at the end of the growing season.
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
A plant that normally lives for more than two years. After an initial period, the plant usually produces flowers once a year.
The female reproductive organ of a flowering plant, consisting of a stigma (the pollen receptor), style (a stalk connecting the stigma with the ovary below), and ovary (encloses the ovules).
An extensive area of flat or rolling, predominantly treeless grassland, especially the large tract or plain of central North America.
An underground, horizontal plant stem that produces roots and shoots.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (January, 2014)
  2. New England Wild - Carex bromoides (January, 2014)
  3. JSTOR Global Plants  - Carex bromoides (January, 2014)
  4. Flora of North America - Sedge (Carex bromoides) (January, 2014)
  5. Mohlenbrock, R.H. (1999) Sedges: Carex. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
  6. Heywood, V.H. (1978) Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  7. United States Department of Agriculture - Carex bromoides (January, 2014)

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