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P1050116Flanders Moss NNR

Lying far out on the moss is a strange looking plant. When you first come across it, it looks like Tina Turner has left a collection of her best 1980s wigs. Or a team of Rod Stewart lookalikes have sunk up to their heads. But its actual name is the Greater Tussock Sedge, Carex paniculata and the tussocks that it can form and where it gets it name from are up to 1.5m in height. It is a big plant. It isn’t rare, it is found across the whole country though seems especially widespread in Wales and rare in northern Scotland. But you wouldn’t really expect to find it on a bog. Normally it is found in wet grassland and wet woodlands and though bogs are very wet they are usually too acidic and too nutrient poor for these plants. But these striking hairdos which are mostly found along the High Moss Pow which flows right across the moss, are an indication of the nature of the water that flows down the High Moss Pow. Rather than just being bog water it actually also receives water draining from mineral soils on the west edge of the moss. This mineral input means there is enough plant food for the Greater Tussock Sedge to survive in the waterlogged conditions. In winter, as other vegetation dies back, the huge shoulder high tussocks stand out even more but careful if you get up close as the leaves have a serrated, sharp edge and the first cut is often the deepest.

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