Carex nigra
Common Name: black sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Wet Soil


Easily grown in wet soils in part shade to full shade. Will grow in shallow water (e.g., 3-4" deep). Tolerates full sun as long as soils are wet, but best in part shade. Although evergreen in warm winter climates, minimal persistence of foliage color occurs in the St. Louis area unless winter is unusually mild. May be grown in medium moisture soils, but is less vigorous.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex nigra, commonly called black sedge, has dark blue-green to blue-gray foliage with a powdery white underside. It is evergreen in all but the coldest climates, spreading by runners to form tufts. Its black flowers and seed heads are attractive though not showy.

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 black.


No serious pests or problems although plants grown in hot climates will need constant moisture.


Good for water gardens, ground covers and rock gardens. It works well when grown in mass plantings or as a specimen or accent plant.