Virtues: We love Gray’s sedge (Carex grayi) for its mace-like green seed heads that appear in summer and for its ability to withstand wet soil. Grow this fascinating grassy plant at a pond’s edge or in a container bog. The seed pods are useful in flower arrangements, and the seeds also feed birds and other wildlife.
Common name: Gray’s sedge, common bur sedge, morning star sedge
Botanical name: Carex grayi
Flowers: Inconspicous flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. This sedge is pollinated by the wind, not insects. Green seed pods shaped like a medieval mace weapon appear in midsummer and persist until fall.
Foliage: Long, arching, grassy foliage with a prominent midrib.
Habit: Grasslike perennial to two feet tall and wide.
Season: Summer, for its foliage and seed heads.
Origin: Gray’s sedge is a grass native to roughly the eastern half of North America.
How to grow Gray’s sedge: This ornamental grass can take sun or shade. It thrives in damp soil, making it a good choice for poorly drained sites, pond edges and rain gardens. Cut the last growing season’s growth to the ground in the fall or early spring. USDA Zones 4–9.
Image: “Morgenstern Segge 1”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Design beautiful garden borders of perennials and ornamental grasses with Bloom’s Best Perennials and Grasses.
Learn to incorporate more native plants for a garden that’s appealing to both humans and wildlife with The Living Landscape.
Use ornamental grasses and flowering perennials to their best effect with the advice and planting plans in The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden.