Carex sylvatica

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCyperaceaeCarexCarex sylvatica


This perennial herb is found in a wide range of woodland habitats, generally preferring those where there is some base-enrichment and where the soil is moist and clayey. In many woods it is particularly frequent along the sides of paths or rutted tracks. It is occasionally found in open scrub and damp grassland, but likely to be a woodland relic in such places. Generally lowland, but reaching 565 m on Ben Bulben (Co. Sligo), and reportedly at 640 m in the Scottish Highlands.



World Distribution

Eurasian Temperate element.

© G. Toone, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland

Light (Ellenberg): 4

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1050

Height (cm): 70

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1899

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 608

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2

Atlas Change Index: 0.05

Weighted Changed Factor: 25

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations