A tussock-forming perennial herb, mainly occurring in open fenland but also in Salix-carr where, however, its numbers may sometimes be reduced by shading and drying out. Generally lowland, but reaches 380 m at Malham Tarn (Mid-W. Yorks.).
C. appropinquata has declined in its East Anglian stronghold and in its Yorkshire lowland sites as a result of drainage and recent dry summers. However, the sites in the Scottish Borders, all discovered since the 1962 Atlas, appear to be in good heart, and the distribution in Ireland seems stable.
Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element, with a continental distribution in W. Europe.
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Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 9
Reaction (Ellenberg): 8
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.5
Annual Precipitation (mm): 752
Height (cm): 80
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 38
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 13
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
Atlas Change Index: -0.17
Scarce Atlas Account
Carex appropinquata Schum.
C. appropinquata is a plant of lowland herbaceous fen. When C. appropinquata grows in the same site as C. paniculata it is often found in slightly drier places, but it is the first of the two to disappear when the water level falls. It can be found in fen care, where it may be a relic of a time when conditions were more open. It is predominantly a lowland plant, but is found up to 380 metres at Malham Tarn.
C. appropinquata is a tufted perennial. Its method of reproduction is by seed, which is abundantly produced.
It is now extinct in its southernmost station in Britain on the Middlesex-Hertfordshire-Buckinghamshire borders. In East Anglia it has recently suffered much from invasion by scrub and Phragmites australis following drought, excessive water extraction and lack of management. Some colonies (e.g. that at Wicken Fen) consist of large tussocks and there has been no regeneration in recent years. However, it is locally abundant in Broadland and very locally abundant in Yorkshire. In the last twenty years it has been found in several new sites in the Scottish Borders. Reports from Wales were errors (S.B. Evans 1989). The species must be regarded as very vulnerable outside its Broadland strongholds because of the small number of sites to which it is now restricted.
It is widespread in central and eastern Europe, extending north to northern Scandinavia and eastward to Siberia.
European studies, particularly in Czechoslovakia, have seemed to show that it requires more acid conditions than its congener C. paniculata, but the fact that its largest congregations in Britain and Ireland are in calcareous fens in East Anglia and County Westmeath suggest that the opposite is true in western Europe.
R. W. David
Atlas text references
1969. Plant Notes: Carex appropinquata Schumach. – in Scotland. Proceedings of the Botanical Society of the British Isles. 7:562.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1982. Sedges of the British Isles. Botanical Society of the British Isles Handbook no. 1, edn 2.
1994. Scarce plants in Britain.