Carex pulicaris, the flea sedge, is a species of sedge in the genus Carex native to Europe.

Carex pulicaris
Carex pulicaris.jpeg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Carex
Subgenus: Carex subg. Psyllophora
Section: Carex sect. Unciniiformes
C. pulicaris
Binomial name
Carex pulicaris
  • Carex psyllophora L.f.
  • Caricinella pulicaris (L.) St.-Lag.
  • Psyllophora pulicaris (L.) Schur
  • Psyllophora puliciformis Montandon
  • Psyllophora vulgaris Heuff.
  • Vignea pulicaris (L.) Rchb.


Carex pulicaris is a small sedge, with stiff stems 10–30 centimetres (4–12 in) tall.[1] The leaves are 5–25 cm (2–10 in) long and less than 1 millimetre (0.04 in) wide.[1] The inflorescence comprises a single spike, with 3–10 female flowers towards the base, and male flowers towards the tip.[1][2] As the utricles mature, they bend away from the spike axis and become sensitive to touch; the way the seeds appear to jump from the stem gives rise to the plant's vernacular name.[1] Before the utricles have become deflexed, C. pulicaris closely resembles C. rupestris, with which it often grows.[1] It may also be confused with C. pauciflora, which usually bears only 2–3 fruit per stem.[2]

Distribution and ecologyEdit

Carex pulicaris is found across much of Europe, from Spain to Estonia and north to Iceland and Fennoscandia, but excluding the Mediterranean region.[3] It grows in a variety of wet habitats, including bogs, fens and wet flushes.[4]


Carex pulicaris was first described in Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 work Species Plantarum. It is not known to hybridise with any other species.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f A. C. Jermy; D. A. Simpson; M. J. Y. Foley; M. S. Porter (2007). "Carex pulicaris L.". Sedges of the British Isles. BSBI Handbook No. 1 (3rd ed.). Botanical Society of the British Isles. pp. 512–514. ISBN 978-0-901158-35-2.
  2. ^ a b Carl Farmer. "Flea sedge, Carex pulicaris". West Highland Flora. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Loppstarr, Carex pulicaris L." Den virtuella floran. Naturhistoriska riksmuseet. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  4. ^ Clive A. Stace (2010). "Carex L. – sedges". New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 951–974. ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5.

External linksEdit