Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Carex planostachys

Cedar sedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Ranging from Arkansas and Oklahoma south through Texas and eastern Mexico to Guatemala, Cedar Sedge is named for the plants it most frequently grows among and under: cedars, a.k.a. junipers (Juniperus species). It is one of many plants evolved to grow in the rich, loose, fast-draining soil created by juniper leaf fall. It is also found in deciduous woodland where leaves decompose rapidly and as understory to taller grasses in prairies and meadows. Though lawn-grass short, it is a clumping sedge, not forming a proper sod, so it doesnt really make a solid turf, but it can be combined with other low-growing plants to create a natural-looking herb layer. For central Texas, herb-layer companion plants for the shade would be Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana), Missouri Violet (Viola missouriensis), Violet Ruellia (Ruellia nudiflora), Drummonds Ruellia (Ruellia drummondiana), Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila phacelioides), and Straggler Daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis). It can take occasional mowing and light foot traffic.

Image Gallery:

3 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Terminal , Spike
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Normally about 6 inches tall
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent. Bloom time refers to fruiting period for Carex spp.


USA: AZ , AR , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Oklahoma south to Guatemala
Native Habitat: Prairies, plains, savannahs, meadows, pastures. Mostly in the shade and soil beneath junipers (cedars).

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Well-drained loam, clay, caliche, or limestone. Prefers the humus-rich, fast-draining soil under junipers.
Conditions Comments: Generally found in the partial shade of juniper savannah, but also occurs as understory among taller grasses in prairies, where it can get more sun.


Use Ornamental: Can be used as an accent plant for shade gardens or in full sun. Can comprise part of the herb layer in regional landscape restorations, particularly under junipers.
Interesting Foliage: yes

Last Update: 2010-11-22