Carex plantaginea

2014 – Plantainleaf Sedge

Plantainleaf or “Seersucker” Sedge is a shade tolerant evergreen ornamental perennial from the Cyperaceae or Sedge family that is valued for its long broad leaves that pucker at the ends like ribbon. Its size ranges from one to two feet and it has a clumping habit. This grass- like woodland plant adds a unique foliage texture to the natural garden or any shade garden. Its native range is from Canada south into Alabama and west to the Mississippi River. It grows best in moist woodland soil that is high in organic matter and in part to full shade.

Hardy to Zone 5, Plantainleaf Sedge is almost always evergreen here in southeastern Pennsylvania. The leaves grow from a basal rosette and can reach a length of 12” with a width of 1 ¼” and have an arching habit. They are bright green, have a prominent midrib down the center and have visible venation. While this plant is grown mostly for its foliage it also has fairly attractive flowers (or inflorescence as they are called on grass-type plants) that bloom in April. The flowers are reddish-purple and appear to float above the brightly colored foliage. This sedge will spread and form colonies in time, but not aggressively. These plants are easily divided and transplanted into other parts of the garden. Along with all its other desirable attributes, this diverse perennial is also deer proof! It is very attractive when planted along paths where it can be appreciated for its striking features. Plantainleaf Sedge makes a wonderful addition to the woodland garden.