Carex retroflexa

Overall Plant
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: reflexed sedge 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.25 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Flowers not showy
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade, Dry Soil


Best grown in evenly moist to dry, well-draining, rich to sandy loams in part sun to part shade. Will spread from seed but is generally not considered aggressive. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carex retroflexa, commonly called reflexed sedge, is a clump-forming, perennial sedge native to mesic to dry-mesic deciduous woodlands, rocky ledges, and the edges of forest paths throughout the eastern United States. Mature clumps will reach around 4-10" tall and around 8-14" wide. The narrow, grass-like leaves are upright to gently arching and can reach up to 2' long. Small, beaked capsules (perigynia) hold the non-showy flowers which bloom in spring. The capsules are held in terminal spikes atop a wiry stem. Will spread from seed to form colonies.

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.

The specific epithet retroflexa means "bent backwards" in reference to the position of the capsules.


No known pest or disease problems.


Woodland gardens, mixed borders. Suitable for use as a lawn alternative (low traffic levels).