Carex elata 'Aurea'
Common Name: Bowles' golden sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Wet Soil


Easily grown in medium to wet soil in full sun to part shade. This species thrives in shallow water (2-3 "). Can also be grown in average garden soil, albeit less vigorously, but soil must not be allowed to dry out. Does well in some shade, but tends to flop in too much shade. Cut to ground in winter. Propagate by division in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex elata is a dense, clump-forming sedge rising 1-2.5' tall which is grown for its foliage effect. Grass-like, sharply keeled, dark green leaves are up to 30" long. Commonly called tufted sedge. Insignificant flowers appear in May on inflorescences of staminate and pistulate spikes which are not showy but are noticeable and persist into July. Foliage promptly turns yellow after frost. Cultivars of this species are superior garden plants to the species.

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 means tall.

'Aurea' has shimmering yellow leaves with dark green margins. It reflects its beautiful color on ponds and streams.


No significant insect or disease problems.

In hot dry climates, the plant may not grow greater than 1 foot in height and the leaves may brown out.


Mass in moist, lightly shaded areas near ponds or streams. A good plant for the water garden or low spot. With regular watering, may be grown in borders, rock gardens and containers.

The golden color of this cultivar casts a reflection on ponds and streams and will reflect light. Single specimens are dramatic; masses may be overwhelming. It is also interesting as a specimen or accent plant, brightening shady areas.