Carex praegracilis
Common Name: clustered field sedge
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Green to pale reddish brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Erosion

Culture

Easily grown in average, moist to wet soils in full sun to part shade. It will also grow in somewhat dry soils. It is very tolerant of salty/alkaline conditions. Plants spread by rhizomes, and may self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex praegracilis, sometimes commonly called clustered field sedge, is a perennial sedge with stout black rhizomes that grows in a loose clump to 2-3' tall. Plants feature narrow, grass-like, mostly-basal, medium green leaves (to 8-12" long). Flowers bloom in late spring (May) in inflorescences (5-15 spikes each) atop rough, sharply triangular culms (stems) which rise up singly from the rhizomes to 2-3' tall. Plants may be monoecious (spikelets with male flowers above the female flowers) or dioecious (spikelets of male and female flowers on separate plants). Female flowers are followed by tiny fruits (achenes) enclosed in sac-like bracts (perigynia). This sedge is typically found growing in moist/wet to relatively dry sites on prairies, stream banks, lake margins, seeps, open woodlands, ditches, railroad track right-of-ways and roadsides from Alaska and southern Canada throughout the remaining continental U.S. except for the southeast and south central portions (North Carolina to Florida west to Texas). Original native range was primarily in the western U.S. and Great Plains, but this sedge has been introduced over time into various parts of the Midwest and Northeast, plus has spread into those areas, particularly along railroad tracks and highways. It has tolerance for saline conditions (including those caused by application of road salt in winter), hence the additional common name of expressway sedge.

Over 1500 species of Carex grow in a variety of habitats (often moist to wet areas) throughout he world. Identification of individual species can be very difficult.

Genus name from Latin means cutter in reference to the sharp leaves and stem edges (rushes are round but sedges have edges) found on most species' plants.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot, smut and rust are occasional problems.

Garden Uses

Meadows, stream/pond peripheries, and foundations. Good plant for wet, boggy areas of the landscape. Good for erosion control. Experimental turf grass substitute in California.