Species Factsheets

Carex buxbaumii

Brown Sedge

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State Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S3

Did You Know?

Individual flowers can be male or female and both sexes can be found on the same plant.

Carex buxbaumii


Brown sedge (Carex buxbaumii) is a grass-like plant that grows from long creeping rhizomes. The stems are .5-1m tall and are red-tinged at the base. The leaves are linear and elongate and about 1.5-4mm wide. The individual flowers are tiny, either male or female, and are clustered in cylindrical spikes near the top of flowering stems. Female flowers are enclosed by pale green sac-like structures, called perigynia, each of which is subtended by a strongly contrasting brown to dark purple scale that has a bristle-tip.

Rank Justification

Vulnerable in the nation or state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.


The PA Biological Survey considers brown sedge to be a species of special concern, based on the relatively few occurrences that have been confirmed and its wetland habitat. It has been assigned a rarity status of Rare.


The species grows in wetlands, including marshes, swales, meadows, and swamps, especially on calcareous substrate.

Survey Dates

Flowers May, fruits June - September


In Pennsylvania, it occurs mostly in the southern half of the state.



Creating buffers around wetlands, controlling of invasive species, and protecting of wetland hydrology will help to maintain occurrences of brown sedge.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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