True fox-sedge

True Fox-sedge


True fox-sedge

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Scientific name: Carex vulpina
The true fox-sedge is a rare and threatened plant in the UK. It relies on lowland floodplain meadows and damp habitats, which are rapidly disappearing. Look for reddish-brown flowers in summer.

Top facts


Height: up to 1m

Conservation status

Classified as Vulnerable on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

January to December


The true fox-sedge is a rare species that is associated with wetland habitats, such as floodplain meadows, ditches, ponds and rivers, and tends to prefer alkaline clay soils. It is a flowering perennial with clusters of reddish-brown flowers on stout stems that fruit in June and July when hay meadows burst into bloom with wildflowers.

What to look for

The true fox-sedge is very similar to the false fox-sedge, so telling the two species apart can be difficult. The true fox-sedge has stout stems that are triangular and winged in cross-section. It has bright green, blade-like leaves and a reddish-brown flower head.

Where to find

Restricted to a few locations in Central and Southern England.

Did you know?

The true fox-sedge can be found on the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust's Upper Ray Meadows nature reserve. Here, work has been undertaken to restore the floodplain meadow habitats to their former glory and reintroduce this threatened species where it once had a stronghold.

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support.