Carex morrowii var. temnolepis 'Silk Tassel'

Common Name: Japanese grass sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Greenish-brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Wet Soil


Best grown in moist, fertile, medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. Foliage color is sharper and richer in shady conditions. Foliage may bleach to unattractive shades of yellow when these plants are grown in full sun. This sedge is evergreen in the deep South (USDA Zones 8-9), but is not evergreen near the northern edge of its growing range (e.g., the St. Louis area), although some foliage color may persist through mild winters. Where not evergreen, foliage should be cut to the ground and removed in late winter. Propagate by plant division in spring or seeding in the fall.

This sedge may be grown as a container plant using a mixture of one-half peat moss and one-half fertile soil which needs to be kept constantly moist but well-drained.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex morrowii, commonly known as Japanese sedge or Morrow’s sedge, is a sedge that typically grows in a dense, grass-like clump to 1-2’ tall. It is native to low alpine areas in Japan. This sedge is typically grown for its attractive shape and foliage. Plants feature stiff, flat, narrow, long-pointed, solid green leaves (1/2” wide to 12” long). Brownish flowers (lack petals and sepals) are short-lived and inconspicuous.

Cultivars with variegated foliage are much more commonly sold in commerce, and are considered to have superior ornamental interest to straight species plants.

Var. temnolepis features extremely narrow thread-like deep green leaves (to 1/8” wide and 18” tall). It is native to wooded mountain areas on the island of Honshu in Japan.

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 Dr. James Morrow who collected this plant in Japan as a member of the U. S. Expedition led by Commodore Perry in 1853-1854.

Common name of sedge comes from the Latin word for sedge (secafre) meaning to cut in reference to the sharp leaf edges. An old saying is worth repeating here: “sedges have edges, and rushes are round but grasses have nodes from their tips to the ground.”

‘Silk Tassel’ is a cultivar in which the leaves feature showy white margins. This cultivar was introduced by Barry Yinger.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Group or mass as a ground cover in shade areas of borders or woodland gardens. Grows well in the shade of trees. Effective accent for smaller gardens. Also appropriate for areas with moist soils such as low spots and stream/pond margins. Most effective when grown in large clumps or massed plantings, although smaller clumps can be attractive in shady areas of rock gardens. Good in containers.