Fringed sedge

Fringed sedge

Carex crinita

Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Magnoliophyta

Class: Liliopsida (Monocots)

Order: Cyperales

Family: Cyperaceae

Genus: Carex

Species: crinita

Where in the OLL?

C. crinita is a wetland plant that is well-suited to the rain garden. The rain garden helps to deal with runoff from paved surfaces by catching the water and returning some to the soil rather than letting it immediately enter the storm drains. The thick root clumps formed by Carex crinita help catch runoff and increase infiltration into the soil. 

Plant growth form

C. crinita is an herb. It is perennial and evergreen. It grows in clumps, reaching a height of 3 to 4 feet and spreading 3 to 4 feet in width. The stems are triangular, and the leaves are long and creased on either side of the midvein. 

Flowers, fruits & pollinators

The flowers are 1-2mm, light green, and grow clustered closely together on drooping spikes. C. crinita are monoecious, with separate flowers on the same stalk for pollen production and for seed production. Each stalk has 1-2 staminate (pollen-bearing) spikes and 2-6 pistillate (seed-bearing) spikes. Each flower has one bract and the staminate flowers have 3 stamens. The staminate spikes may also have pistillate flowers on the lower half of the spike. The plant blooms May to June. 

Ideal location, conditions & cultural needs

This sedge grows in moist to wet soil in partial shade to full sun. It is tolerant of soils with high clay content. The pH range for growth is 4-7.5. 

Planning & maintenance

When planting this sedge it is best to space the plants 6-8 feet apart. C. crinita grows vigorously and forms thick clumps, but is slow to spread.

Cultivars & propagation

C. crinita propagates from seed and from sprigs. This useful native plant can be purchased through Nasami Farm native plant trust via the following link:

Pests & pathogens

Many insects feed on Carex crinita but there are no pests specific to the plant. It is a foodplant for the caterpillars of several species of butterfly, including the eyed brown and multiple species of skippers. It also hosts leaf beetles and grasshoppers. Deer generally do not eat this plant.

Landscape & ecosystem

Carex crinita provides food for insects (see above) as well as for turtles and wetland birds. As a wetland plant that grows in thick clumps, it holds soil in place and prevents erosion. 

Human uses

C. crinita is a useful plant for drainage systems, such as the rain garden at GCC. It is tolerant of flooding and standing water, and its thickly clumped roots trap runoff and return the water slowly to the soil. 

Plant catalogued by Katherine King
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