Prickly Sedge

Latin name: Carex muricata ssp.muricata

Family: Cyperaceae

Prickly sedge grows on very thin limestone soils where there is very little competition from more dominant grasses and sedges.

The plant will only grow when the level of grazing is exactly right. It can’t survive heavy grazing but equally when grazing is too light, other more dominant grass species prevent it from growing.

Until recently, prickly sedge had only been recorded in four locations in Great Britain. Three of these are within the Yorkshire Dales National Park with small colonies of the plant appearing in Ribblesdale, Swaledale and Malhamdale.

At risk?

Although still a rare species, prickly sedge has recently been recorded at a further five locations and the national population is thought to be stable. In 2007 review of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), this species no longer met the Priority list criteria and so will no longer be the subject of a national BAP.

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The unfolding of Grass Wood throughout the year is a story of rich fulfilment. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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