Carex grayi

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: gray sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to October
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Wet Soil


Gray sedge grows best in moist fertile soil in full sun, but will tolerate light shade. It thrives at or near water. Propagation is through seeding in the fall and division in the spring. Under suitable conditions, this sedge may self-seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex grayi, commonly called gray sedge, has greenish yellow to brown seed heads that look like spiked clubs and are attractive in both fresh and dried flower arrangements. The fruits remain on the plant in winter, adding an interesting accent when the shadows reflect on snow. The grass-like leaves, which are up to 1/2" wide, are semi-evergreen.

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.

Specific epithet honors Asa Gray (1810-1888), a leading American botanist and author of such great works as the notable Gray's Manual of Botany (1848; 8th edition 1950).


There are no known pests. Gray sedge does not do well in dry soil and in hot climates may not reach full height.


Gray sedge is best when used in large groups around pools and ponds. It also makes an interesting accent plant when grown near water gardens or even in containers.