Carex paniculata: the greater tussock sedge

Identifying sedges can be a challenge so it is something of a relief to come upon one that can really not be mistaken for anything else. That is the case with the greater tussock sedge (Carex paniculata) which cannot really be mistaken for anything else when you bear in mind that the lesser tussock sedge is a very rare plant in southern England. If you see a tussock sedge in Dorset then it is almost (although not definitely) the greater of the two.
If you see a tussock sedge; that begs the question "what is a tussock sedge?". A tussock sedge is a perennial species that dies back each winter and re-shoots and flowers each summer. Over time the dead matter accumulates and the new shoots grow from the top and eventually the dead matter forms a tussock, hence the name.
Whilst not a common species where it does occur it can be quite prolific. You can find it in fens, bogs, swamps, by lakes and even in damp woodland. It does, in fact, prefer shady conditions.
Carex paniculata: the greater tussock sedge

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