Carex muskingumensis - PALM SEDGE

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Very attractive native sedge, with brilliant fresh green leaves, dense clumps with pinwheel growing stems that open into little "palms".

Grows usually to 2' tall and wide (with enough nutrients and constant moisture to 3'), flowers from May to September, with green flower that turn yellow-brown. Stays in clumps, but can self seed, but it's well behaved grass.

Full sun (with constant moisture), half shade, medium to wet soils. Too much shade means flopping. Can be used as water plant and planted in shallow water up to 4" deep.

Native to central and upper Midwest, where can be found in floodplains or moist lowland woods, see the USDA distribution map.

Hardy in zones 4 to 9, it is deer resistant and black walnut tolerant plant.

It has very good ecological value - it hosts caterpillars of several moths, skippers, and butterflies, many species of grasshoppers and bugs. Seeds are food source for many birds - the Mallard, Wood Duck, Woodcock, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Red-Eyed TowheeFox Squirrel and Gray Squirrel can feed on seedheads too. Bigger planting and colonies provide shelter for wildlife.

Looks good close to water bodies, pond banks, shallow water, but it grows fairly well in average soil, that doesn't dry out for too long, so it can be used in regular flower bed, rain garden, bigger containers or woodland edges.

If used in sunny perennial bed, combine this sedge with tall Phloxes, Darmera, Iris (moisture loving irises like I. sibirica, I. pseudata, I. ensata, I. versicolor, iris virginica, I. setosa), Chelone, Physostegia, Sanquisorba, Persicaria amplexicalis, or even with Bergenia, Brunnera, Hosta, Rodgersia, Primula japonica in half-shade garden.

Picture copyright : Jay Sturner, Commons Wikipedia