Carex ornithopoda

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCyperaceaeCarexCarex ornithopoda


A perennial herb of skeletal, well-drained soils on S.-facing slopes overlying Carboniferous limestone. It grows in open grassland, on rocky outcrops, screes, crags and limestone pavements, and occasionally also in partial shade in open limestone woodland. Lowland to 600 m on Long Fell, Warcop (Westmorland).



World Distribution

European Boreal-montane element.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 3

Reaction (Ellenberg): 9

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.1

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1272

Life form information

Height (cm): 15

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 15

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: 0.28

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (362d)
Corner RWM, Roberts FJ
1989.  Carex ornithopoda Willd. in Cumberland. Watsonia. 17:437-438.
David RW
1980.  The distribution of Carex ornithopoda Willd. in Britain. Watsonia. 13:53-54.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jermy AC, Chater AO, David RW
1982.  Sedges of the British Isles. Botanical Society of the British Isles Handbook no. 1, edn 2.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Porter MS, Roberts FJ
1997.  Bird’s-foot Sedge (Carex ornithopoda Willd.) in Cumbria. The Carlisle Naturalist. 5:18-23.
Wigginton MJ
1999.  British Red Data Books. 1. Vascular plants, edn 3.