Carex

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Carex

Carex – Sedge -

There are over 1500 species of deciduous and evergreen, rhizomatous, clump forming or tufted perennials, in this genus.  They occur from temperate and arctic zones, as well as high altitudes in tropical regions, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere.  Most species occur, in bog, moorland, or damp woodland, or by water.  Sedges are grown for their variegated or colorful foliage, although some species have attractive catkin-like spikes.  The general grass like leaves are usually sharp edged, linear, 3 ranked, and with leaf bases sheathing the triangular stems, which are solid and without nodes.  Sedges are mainly monoecious, occasionally dioecious, and bear panicles of small, grass like flowers in short spikes.  There are sedges for every site in the garden.

Sedges have varying cultivation requirements.  These are grouped as follows:

1. Most soils in sun or partial shade. Avoid extreme of wet or dry

2. Fertile, moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade.

3. Fertile, moist or wet soil in sun or partial shade.

In summer, cut out any dead leaves on evergreen species.  Divide between mid spring and early summer.

Prone to rusts, smuts, fungal leaf spots, and aphids.

 

Japanese Sedge Silver Japanese Sedge Silver

 

C. berggrenii - This miniature evergreen perennial from New Zealand grows 4″ tall and 6″ wide.  It produces short rhizomes, spreading slowly and forming loose tufted of short, blunt, blue-green, metallic-gray, or reddish brown leaves to 2″ long.  In mid summer it bears small, brown flower spikes, to 1/4″ long, atop of 4″ long stems.  Cultivation group 2.

Zones 6-9

 

C. buchananii – Leatherleaf Sedge - This densely, tufted, evergreen perennial from New Zealand grows 20-36″ tall and 36″ wide.  It’s of asymmetrical, arching habit, with short rhizomes and orange-brown leaves, to 18″ long, curled at the tips.  In mid and late summer it bears brown flower spikes, 1/4-1 1/4″ long, atop of lax stems, to 20″ long, Cultivation group 1.

Zones 6-9

 

C. comas – New England Hair Sedge – New Zealand Hair Sedge - This densely tufted, evergreen perennial from New Zealand occurring in diverse habitats grows 10-14″ tall and 30″ wide.  It produces tufts of very fine pale yellow-green, pale gray, or reddish brown leaves, 10″ or more long.  In mid and late summer it bears inconspicuous brown flowers spikes, 1/4-1″ long, are held atop of stems to 10″ long that arch to the ground.  Variants with warm brown foliage have been selected.  Cultivation group 1.

Zones 6-9

 

C. conica – ‘Ssnowline’ – C. conica ‘Hime-kan-suge’ – This small, tufted, evergreen perennial grows 6″ tall and 10″ wide.  It produces dark green, white edged leaves, to 6″ long, forming dense, low, arching tufts.  In early summer it bears small, dark brown-purple flower spikes, ½-1″ long, atop of stem 6″ long.  Cultivation group 2.

Zones 5-9

 

 

C. elata – Carex stricta – Tufted Sedge - This European and Northern African native is  deciduous in damp place and beside ponds.  It is a fast spreading plant with new shoots springing from the rhizomes to form broad based tufts of foliage about 18″ tall, from which arise in summer, erect flowering stems up to 36″ tall with dark brown spikes.

‘Aurea’ – C. stricta ‘Aurea’ – Bowles Golden Sedge’ - This deciduous perennial grows 28″ tall and 18″ wide.  It produces short rhizomes, forming dense clump of gently arching, rich yellow leaves, 16-24″ long, narrowly edged in green.  In late spring and early summer, stems 20″ or more long carry brown male flower spikes, to 1″ long, above 2 or 3 stalkless green female spikes, ½-1 ½” long.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 5-9

 

C. flagellifera – Carex lucida – Weeping Brown New Zealand Sedge - This densely tufted, evergreen perennial from New Zealand grows 12-42″ tall and 36″ wide.  It is similar to C. comans, but taller with broader green or bronze brown flower spikes, 1/4-1″ long, elongated to over 36″ as the red-brown fruit mature.  Variants in cultivation often have red-brown foliage.  Cultivation group 1.

Zones 6-9

 

C. ‘Fraseri’ – Cymophyllus fraseri - This very broad, deciduous perennial from the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern USA produces leaves about 1″ wide and mostly 10-18″ long, which emerge only after the flowering stems have elongated in spring and with only one leaf to each stems.  Cultivation group 2.

Zones 5-9

 

C. ‘Frosted Curls’ – C. albula – This densely tufted, evergreen perennial from New Zealand grows 12-24″ tall and 18″ wide.  It produces short rhizomes which sprout arching, narrow, shiny, pale buff or pale silvery green leaves, to 24″ long, curling at the tips.  From early to late summer it bears inconspicuous small, cylindrical green flowers spikes, to ½” long, on stems 18-24″ long.  Cultivation group 1.

Zones 7-9

 

C. grayi – Gray’s Sedge – Mace Sedge – This deciduous, densely tufted perennial from Eastern North America grows 24-30″ tall and 24″ wide.  It produces short rhizomes, forming strong erect clumps of coarse, broad, 1/3″ wide, green leaves, to 24″ long, From early to late summer it bears stems 24″ long that carry mid green flower spikes, ½-3/4″ long, followed by star like, pale green seed heads, these resemble spiked clubs and are good for flower arranging.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 3-8

 

 

C. hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ – C. oshimensis ‘Evergold’ - This tufted, evergreen perennial grows 12″ tall and 24″ wide.  It produces short rhizomes, forming a low mound of dark green leaves, to 10″ long, each with broad, creamy yellow central stripe.  In mid and late spring it bears brown flower spikes, ½-1 1/4″ long, atop of 6″ long stems.  Cultivation group 2.

Zones 6-9

 

Japanese Sedge Japanese Sedge

C. morrowii cultivars – Japanese Sedge – These clump forming, evergreen perennials from Japan mostly grow 18-20″ tall and 12″ wide.  It produces broad, stiff, pointed, shiny, mid green leaves, 16″ long.  In early summer it bears insignificant panicles of green and brown flower spikes, 3/4-2″ long, atop of stems to 18″ long.  Cultivation group 2.

‘Fisher’ – C. m. ‘Fisher Form’ – produces leaves cream stripped and edged

‘Variegata’ – Silver Variegated Japanese Sedge - has lightly variegated and narrowly silver-edged rich green leaves.

Zones 6-9

C. muskingumensis  – Palm Branched Sedge - This loosely tufted, deciduous, gently spreading perennial from North America grows 28″ tall and 18″ wide.  It produces erect stems that carry horizontally held, bright green leaves, to 30″ long.  In early and mid summer it bears golden brown flower spikes, ½-1″ long, atop of stems 24-30″ long.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 3-8

C. nigra - This clump forming or tufted evergreen perennial from Europe grows 6-9″ tall and wide.  It produces slender or occasionally absent rhizomes that sprout mid green leaves, 4-24″ long.  In early summer it bears stems 4-24″ long, that carry dark black-brown or red-brown flower spikes, 1/4-1 ½” long.  Cultivation group 2.

Zones 4-8

C. ornthopoda – Bird’s Foot Sedge - This clump forming, dense, evergreen perennial from Northwestern Europe grows 2-6″ tall and wide.  From short rhizomes sprouts keeled, light green leaves, 2-8″ long.  In late spring it bears slender, orange-brown flower spikes, 1/4-1″ long, becoming curved and claw like, on stems 2-6″ long.  Cultivation group 2.

‘Variegata’ – has narrowly white striped leaves.

Zones 4-8

 

C. pendula – Drooping Sedge – Pendulous Sedge – Weeping Sedge – This tufted, evergreen perennial forming dense clumps is from Europe and Northern Africa and grows 4 ½’ feet tall and 5′ feet wide.  It produces wide, keeled, shiny, mid green leaves, to 36″ long, and blue-green beneath.  In late spring and early summer, arching stems, to 4 ½’ feet long, carry cylindrical, catkin like, dark brown flower spikes, to 6″ long, erect at first, they become pendent with age.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 5-9

C. petriei - This densely tufted, evergreen perennial from New Zealand grows 10″ tall and 6″ wide.  From short rhizomes sprouts erect or arching, pale pinkish brown leaves, to 12″ long, with curled tips.  In early and mid summer it bears stubby red-brown flower spikes, ½-1 1/4″ long, atop of stems 10″ long.  Cultivation group 1.

Zones 7-9

C. pilulifera ‘Tinney’s Princess’ – This deciduous perennial, similar to, but more delicate than C. hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ grows 6″ tall and wide.  It produces leaves, to 4″ long, which have broad, creamy yellow central stripes and narrow, dark green edges.  In mid spring, atop of 6″ long stems each bear a single, terminal, cylindrical brown male spike, 3/4-1 ½” long, and several brown female spikes, 3/4-1 ½” long, clustered just below the male.  Cultivation group 2.

Zones 7-9

C. plantaginea - This clump forming evergreen perennial from North America grows 12-24″ tall and 24-30″ wide.  It produces flat spreading, many veined, mid green leaves, 16″ long.  In spring it bears narrow, long stalked, brownish black flower spikes, to 4″ long, atop of 8″ long stems.  Cultivation group 1.

Zones 5-7

C. siderosticha ‘Variegata’ - This slowly spreading, deciduous, rhizomatous perennial forming clumps to 12″ tall and at least 16″ wide.  It produces broad, linear-lance shaped, pale green leaves, to 10″ long, edged and narrowly striped white and pink flushed at the bases.  In late spring it bears slender pale brown flowers spikes, to 1/4″ long, atop of stems 12″ long.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 6-9

C. spissa – San Diego Sedge – This Southern Californian native is an evergreen, clump forming perennial, producing upright blue-gray leaves, 4′ feet or more tall.  In spring it bears golden tan flowers atop of tall stems.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 8-10

C. syvatica – Forest Sedge – Wood Sedge – This tufted, evergreen perennial from Europe grows 6′ feet tall and 16-36″ wide.  It produces flat or furrowed, yellow-green leaves, to 36″ long.  In mid spring, it bears pale green spikes ½-3″ long, atop of thin stems, 2-10″ long.  Cultivation group 3.

Zones 3-7

C. testacea - This densely tufted, evergreen perennial from New Zealand grows 5-10′ feet tall and 2-3′ feet wide.  It produces fine, arching, pale olive green leaves, orange-brown on the surfaces that receive full light.  In mid summer it bears cylindrical, pale to dark brown flower spikes, to 1″ long, on stems 20-24″ long, stems later elongated in fruit, to 5′ feet long.  Cultivation group 1.

Zones 8-9


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