Eastern Star Sedge, Carex radiata

Eastern Star Sedge

Carex radiata

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Moist, Medium
Color: Straw
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 1 foot

 Description
Eastern Star Sedge (Carex radiata) or Straight-Styled Wood Sedge is an evergreen perennial that typically produces a dense foliage clump to 8-12 inches tall of narrow, grass-like, medium green blades. This sedge is native to mesic to wet-mesic bottomlands and upland forests and on moist ravine slopes. Ascending to wide-spreading, triangular culms (flower stems) rise above the foliage clump in spring to 20-28 inches tall. Most culms are topped by an open, elongate, yellowish-green, terminal inflorescence (to 1-3 inches long) consisting of 3-8 flower spikelets. Each spikelet contains a star-like cluster of 3-9 perigynia (perigynum is a scale-like bract which encloses each female flower). Flowers bloom from April-May. Male flowers, if present, are borne above the female flowers on the spikes (androgynous). Female flowers are followed by tiny, ovate to obovate achenes which radiate outward from the stem in a star-like pattern. Short rhizomes are poorly-developed.

The short blooming period occurs during the late spring. The female florets are wind-pollinated. Each mature perigynium contains a single achene about 1.5 mm. long and 1.0 mm. across; it is ovoid and somewhat flattened. The root system is fibrous and short-rhizomatous. This sedge reproduces primarily by reseeding itself into new areas.

Habitats include moist to mesic deciduous woodlands, edges of shaded seeps, and slopes of shaded ravines. Star Sedge is found in both undisturbed and slightly degraded woodlands.

Best grown in moist to moderately wet, organically rich loams in sun-dappled to medium shade. Tolerates close to full shade. Soils should never be allowed to dry out and need consistent supplemental watering in hot summer weather. Cut foliage close to the ground and remove as needed in late winter. Plants may be propagated by division or seed. In optimum growing conditions, plants will naturalize by self-seeding.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Group or mass as a clumping ground cover.
  Cut foliage close to the ground and remove as needed in late winter.
  Plants may be propagated by division or seed.
  In optimum growing conditions, plants will naturalize by self-seeding.
  Seeds are eaten by various songbirds and upland gamebirds.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
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 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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