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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

17 April, 2016

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