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Carex

Description

Carex is a genus with over 2,000 species of grass-like perennial plants called sedges found all over the world.  It is in the Cyperaceae or sedge family and is often known as true sedges. The name Carex is Latin for "cutter" in reference to the sharp triangular stem edges found on most members of this genus.  

This plant has a wide variety of leaf colors and textures but the leaves are triangular in cross-section. Most species in the genus spread through rhizomes or stolens, but some species grow in tufts. The genus is divided into three main groups.

Asian- Evergreen in mild climates, usually variegated and well adapted to shade.  They are suitable for containers and brighten shady corners.

New Zealand- Takes more sun, red-bronze or orange leaves common.

North American-Great lawn alternative for shady locations and restoring disturbed sites.

They are slow growing and can be more difficult to grow in a landscape setting than ornamental grasses.  Sedge can handle light foot traffic. They quickly show signs of stress if they are over fertilized or over watered.  Plant them along a border front, in small groups or use them in containers.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Carex sedges are a hardy plant, but they can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations and soil conditions. They are also slow to recover from being cut back.

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Part Sun-Part Shade Gardens Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Part Sun-Part Shade Gardens Shaded Slope Border Garden- Pathway Shaded Slope Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Front Shade Garden Border Garden- Pathway
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#wildlife plant#slow growing#sedge#cover plant#mass planting#perennial grasses#border planting#nesting sites#larval host plant#border front#food source herbage#small group plantings#stormwater demo garden orange co
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#wildlife plant#slow growing#sedge#cover plant#mass planting#perennial grasses#border planting#nesting sites#larval host plant#border front#food source herbage#small group plantings#stormwater demo garden orange co
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carex
    Family:
    Cyperaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Sedges have been used for weaving baskets.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Distribution:
    Worldwide
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds are a food source for small mammals, ducks, grouse, wild turkeys, songbirds. Larval food source for caterpillars. The leaves provide cover and nestings sites.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    A dry, one-seeded indehiscent nutlet, sometimes trifolate.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Solitary or dense spiklets appear spring to early summer. The defining structure of the genus Carex is the bottle-shaped bract surrounding each female flower containing a the single seeded fruit.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are composed of a blade, which extends away from the stalk, and a sheath, which encloses part of the stalk. The blade is normally long and flat, but may be folded or absent. The leaves have parallel veins and a distinct midrib and triangular clums. Foliage may be green, red or brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Description:
    Triangular stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Foot Traffic
    Heavy Shade