Plantain-Leaved Sedge, Carex plantaginea

Plantain-Leaved Sedge

Carex plantaginea

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Green
Fragrance: No
Height: 6-12 inches
Spacing: 1 foot

Plaintain-Leaved Sedge, Carex plantaginea, is perhaps the most ornamental of the woodland sedges. This is a petite perennial sedge that forms 1 foot clumps of lush shaggy foliage. The leaves are broad and semi-evergreen with a striking lime green color and puckered surface. In mid-spring reddish purple scaly flower spikes are displayed above the foliage. This sedge prefers partly shaded moist fertile woods but will tolerate difficult dry shaded sites.

Plaintain-Leaved Sedge grows in dense clumps of bold strap shaped foliage. Leaves are shiny and bright green. Blades have 3 prominent longitudinal veins and are dimpled or puckered along each. Leaves average 1 foot long and about 1 inch wide. Foliage is wider than that of many other sedges and evergreen through most of the range. Blades emerge from leaf sheaths that have a unique maroon color. In mid-spring maroon and green striped culms bear terminal purplish staminate (male) spikelets with pistillate (female) spikelets below. The spikelets are upright and cylindrical. Pistillate spikelets contain up to 12 blunt tipped purplish perigynia. By mid-summer, achene fruit has matured inside the perigynia and the culm topples onto the forest floor and disappears.

Plants are indigenous to woodland slopes, rich deciduous woods, ravines and wooded mountainous sites.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  The root of plantain-leaved sedge was used by the Menominee People as both a charm against, and a topical remedy for, snake bite.
  In garden situations, plants should be cut to the ground during late winter before new growth is initiated.
  Plants slowly colonize from short rhizomes and by producing occasional seedlings
 Further Information

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

Bees flying footer graphic