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Narrow-leaved cattail sedge

Carex squarrosa

Carex squarrosa

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to full shade

Soil moisture: Medium to wet

Height: 2'

Spread: 1'

Flowering period:

Squarrose sedge’s stout, spiny seedheads have a delightfully prickly appearance, providing a fascinating visual element to the native garden. The seedheads appear in springtime on stems projecting above the plant’s grasslike foliage, and they persist throughout the summer. In natural situations, squarrose sedge is a wetland plant, growing in wet woods, wet meadows, marshes, and along the margins of ponds and other water bodies. In the garden, squarrose sedge can grow in full sun as well as partial shade, provided that the soil remains consistently moist. If the garden soil dries out during the summer, squarrose sedge will likely need to be watered.

Forming attractive clusters of stems that grow to about 2 feet tall, squarrose sedge makes a fine addition to both formal and naturalized plantings, especially within rain gardens and along water features. The plant spreads via short rhizomes, gradually enlarging its tussocks. In ideal growing conditions, it may self-seed, but it is not reported to be aggressive. Whereas the main aesthetic role of some grasses and sedges is to be a backdrop to wildflower species, squarrose sedge offers a charming focal point of its own with its eccentric seedheads.

In terms of wildlife value, squarrose sedge produces seeds that under natural circumstances are food for waterfowl species, but in the garden will likely feed sparrows, juncos, and other songbirds. Numerous insects feed on the plant’s foliage, including the larvae of skipper butterflies, as well as leafhoppers and leaf beetles. Several species of katydids eat parts of the plant, and perhaps will grace one’s garden with their leaflike bodies and nocturnal percussive calls.

Photo by Julie Slater.

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