En Español

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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

Native plants for Italianate garden
April 29, 2007 - Hi, I am looking at buying a house in Abilene, Texas that has an established burnt grass yard. The house is Italianate and requires bold plantings. Is there a way to establish a relatively Italinate...
view the full question and answer

How to find out which native plants grow in your particular area
March 26, 2010 - I'm doing an ecology project (prairie restoration) PLEASE RESPOND A.S.A.P MY PAPER IS DUE SOON!!!! Any native plants of Kenosha, WI?
view the full question and answer

Why are Virginia strawberries native to Massachusetts?
February 26, 2009 - Thank you for your answer regarding Virginia wild strawberries. I thought they were only native to Virginia and that Virginia fragaria duchesne is the accepted name for them. Why do strawberries of Ne...
view the full question and answer

Sources of Starleaf Mexican Orange (Choisya dumosa)
March 26, 2006 - Where can we find Choisya dumosa (plant recommended for southwest area) for sale?
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping in Austin
August 24, 2009 - I am planning to convert a pretty large portion (app. 500 sq feet) of my front yard from St. Augustine to an area with native and well-adapted plants. I have solarized the area to kill off grass and ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center