Carex stricta

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: tussock sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: Central United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Reddish-brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion


Easily grown in moist to wet soils including standing water in full sun to part shade. Grows well in wet low spots, water margins and areas that experience some seasonal flooding. Tolerates shady conditions. Spreads by rhizomes to form large colonies. Spread may be aggressive and hard to control in average garden conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex stricta is a rhizomatous evergreen sedge that grows in dense tussocks (clumps) to 1-3' tall and to 2' wide. It is an emergent aquatic that is native primarily to wet swales, marshes, bogs, wet meadows and creek margins in eastern North America (Quebec to Ontario to North Dakota south to Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina). In Missouri, it is limited to several locations in calcareous, spring fed, swampy meadows in the Ozarks in the southeastern part of the State (Steyermark). Narrow, glaucous, grass-like leaves (to 3/8" wide) grow in dense clumps. Older leaves turn straw brown as they die, and build up around the base of each clump surrounding the newer yellowish-green leaves. Flora of North America reports that plants grown in sites with seasonal flooding form distinctive large clumps, and plants grown in drier areas tend to spread more by rhizomes. Flowers appear in late spring in reddish-brown spikes atop stems rising above the foliage. Steyermark maintains that the scattered Missouri populations of this species are all that remains from an ancient Pleistocene presence that has gradually disappeared over time as the glaciers disappeared and the weather warmed.

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 erect or upright.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Best grown in mass for foliage effect in moist to wet areas including ones with standing water. Rhizomatous spread may be too aggressive for average garden conditions. Best sited in areas where it can be allowed to naturalize. Flowers are not showy. Good selection for low spots, stream/pond margins or areas with seasonal flooding. Also may be grown in a variety of upland locations as long as soils are kept consistently moist. Ground cover for shady areas.