En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
4 ratings

Monday - February 04, 2008

From: Silver Spring, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Source for Carex senta plugs in Maryland
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have discovered that Carex senta would be a great plant to replace grass that is just not working. There are numerous articles supporting this, as well as my local county extension office. I am not able to find the plugs, I have tried numerous companies without success. Any suggestion you might have for a plug supplier would be appreciated!


One reason you may be having trouble locating plugs of Carex senta is that the USDA Plant Map shows that particular Carex is found naturally only in New Mexico, Arizona and California. It is native to North America, but does not show up in our Native Plant Database. However, lo and behold, it turns out a common name for Carex senta is Baltimore sedge. Searching on that name, we found a website, Suppliers of Wetland Plants List, on which there is a list of suppliers in Maryland. We found reference to this suppliers list on the website Wetland Plants, which said it listed "some" of the wetland plants that would be found on the wetland suppliers list.

We're not sure why a plant listed on the USDA Plant List would show a plant regarded as a wetlands plant growing exclusively in the Southwest. This could be a confusion in terminology, a change in a plant name, or who knows? Since the nurseries on the list do not appear to have websites, we would suggest you call them until you find someone who supplies plugs of the Carex you are looking for. Another possibility is that your county extension office, if they are recommending this plant, might know a source for it. We did check for it in our Native Plant Suppliers list for Maryland, and got no results. However, you might try contacting them directly.

Speaking of confusion in terminology, we then looked at the Native Plant Database and found a plant, Carex stricta (upright sedge) that, according to the USDA Plants Map is found up and down the East Coast and as far west as Texas. However, the Carex stricta is considerably taller than the Carex senta, so that may not be the answer, either. And, then, there is Carex texensis (Texas sedge), which also is shown on the USDA Plants Map as growing in Maryland, and west to Texas (of course), and in California. The height of Carex texensis is between Carex stricta and Carex senta.

Conclusion: We're way mixed up and you probably are by now, too. Any one of those three sedges should qualify for Maryland, even if the USDA Plant Map doesn't agree. Hopefully, you can figure out which is the right grass and find it on one of the supplier lists.


More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Where to buy wildflower seeds
March 20, 2004 - Where can I buy wildflower seeds?
view the full question and answer

Searching for nursery with yellow nutsedge in NC
January 27, 2014 - I'd like to plant yellow nut sedge as a cover to stop erosion in a lot. Where can I buy yellow nut sedge plants near Kinston, North Carolina? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Source for dotted blue-eyed grass from Saluda SC
February 23, 2013 - I lived in Texas for several years and now live on acreage in South Carolina. I have heard that bluebonnets don't grow well in South Carolina. However, there is a place by the road near our house t...
view the full question and answer

Can plants bought at Plant Sale wait a while in Leander TX
April 06, 2010 - I would like to buy some native plants at the upcoming sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but my yard is not ready to receive them. We are building a new house and anticipate being able ...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Shaded North Slope in Ohio
January 03, 2013 - I have a shaded north hillside which needs erosion control plants. Mostly moss and very thin grass grows there now. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center