Friday, April 27, 2012

Native Plant of the Week: Sprengel's Sedge ~ Carex sprengelii

Sprengel's Sedge ~ Carex sprengelii


If you're looking to try or add more sedges to your native landscape, Sprengel's Sedge is an excellent candidate.

Preferring partial to full sun locations, it's most often found in low-lying areas in woodlands with adequate sunshine. It prefers richer soils but is also very tolerant of drier upland conditions.

Flowering in early spring, the showy spikes are about 3/4 inch tall and upright. Later in the summer they tend to bend over and droop downwards. The perigynia forms in mid May through June and resembles "the volumetric flasks of a chemist's laboratory." (Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges, Hipp, Andrew L.)

Sprengel's Sedge reaches 12-14 inches in height in drier upland sites but can grow as tall as 36 inches in height in really rich sites.

Although this sedge is rhizomatous, it does form nice clumps which makes it a good candidate for massing in the home landscape. We have ours planted with woodland perennial natives, shorter species such as the Downy Yellow Violet and Virginia Waterleaf, and taller ones such as Early Meadow Rue.

This photo is of a large cluster of Sprengel's Sedge at a local park. It's on an uplands site in a Oak Woodland where it's very sunny due to a break in the canopy.

Sprengel's Sedge is native to central North America, see map below for range.

USDA Plants Database