Carex crus-corvi

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Wet Soil


Easily grown in organically rich, consistently moist to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Plants need consistent moisture in full sun locations. Avoid deep shade. Plants will tolerate brief flooded conditions. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter. Plants naturalize primarily by self-seeding but also by short rhizomes.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex crus-corvi, commonly called Raven's foot sedge or crowfoot sedge, is a perennial sedge that typically grows in a clump to 2-3' tall on upright triangular culms clad with narrow, linear, grass-like, gray-green to green leaves to 3' long and to 1/3" wide. Leaf sheaths are dotted with purple. This sedge is native to alluvial bottomlands, wet prairies, wet meadows, swamps, marshes, roadside ditches and stream/river banks from Ontario to Georgia west to Minnesota and Texas. In Missouri, it is found throughout the State mostly on river floodplains. Flowers bloom in late spring (May-June) in compound, multi-branched, terminal inflorescences (to 8" long) atop flowering culms. Each inflorescence is a raceme of densely packed, prickly spikelets (each to 1/3" across) with long perigynium beaks which give this species a distinctively bristly appearance. Pistillate flowers are followed by tiny fruits (achenes) enclosed in sac-like bracts (perigynia).

Over 1500 species of Carex grow in a variety of habitats (often moist to wet areas) throughout the 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.

Specific epithet means crow spur in reference to bristly appearance of the seed heads.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Accent or specimen. Mass for a slowly spreading ground cover. Shady areas of borders, woodland gardens or shade gardens. Also appropriate for water gardens peripheries and stream/pond margins.