Carex spicata | Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora

Carex spicata

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCyperaceaeCarexCarex spicata


A perennial herb of rough grasslands, roadsides, railway embankments, hedge banks, woodland rides and clearings, open scrub and waste ground. It is a plant of moist, neutral or slightly base-rich, heavy soils, and cannot withstand much competition. Lowland.



World Distribution

European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 823

Life form information

Height (cm): 85

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1043

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 48

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 1

Weighted Changed Factor: 36

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.