Carex lutea

Common Names:
Golden sedge, Sulfur Sedge
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
North Carolina Botanical Garden

The conservation of Carex lutea is fully sponsored.


Carex lutea is a rhizomatous, perennial sedge that grows in clumps with mostly basal leaves. It is distinguished from other Carex species by the bright golden yellow color of female spikes when the fruits mature, by how tall (up to one meter) and slender it is, and by its out-curved perigynia beaks. It was discovered in 1991 and was officially described in 1994.

The Golden Sedge is endemic to just two North Carolina coastal plain counties, where it resides on particularly rare habitat. This sedge is found along the ecotone between longleaf pine savannas and hardwood/conifer swamps where historically fires occurred every three to five years, suppressing the shrub layer. The remaining eight known populations of the sedge occur in areas that have been burned, mown, and/or are wet enough to prevent the establishment of a shrub understory. All eight populations occur within a four-mile-wide area. Between 1992 and 1996, three of the sites lost over 83% of their individuals for unknown reasons. Very specific habitat requirements, combined with fire suppression, herbicide use, and habitat loss due to development pressures and site drainage, are the primary reasons for low population size and overall decline of this species (Leblond 1994; Ratzlaff 2002).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research