Sand Sedge

Carex arenaria

  1. Wildlife
  2. Grasses
  3. Sand Sedge


Creeping through the sand dunes at our coastal sites, Sand Sedge is a common perennial which uses underground stems (rhizomes) to spread. It is one of the first plants to colonise new or open sand dunes, its creeping stems spreading in straight lines below the surface of the sand, helping to bind and stabilise it.

How to identify

The aerial shoots of Sand Sedge appear in straight lines, following the underground stems. Sand Sedge has wiry leaves and a flower spike of pale brown spikelets (containing the flowers) clustered together. It flowers from May to July.

Where to find it

Widespread around the coasts of the UK.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Sand Sedge and other primary colonisers are an important feature of our coastal sand dunes, helping to stabilise the dunes and encourage other plants to grow. The Wildlife Trusts look after many coastal habitats for the benefit of all kinds of plants and wildflowers, and are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices in these areas. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Sand Sedge
Latin name
Carex arenaria
Height: up to 35cm
Conservation status