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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Carex aquatilis

Carex aquatilis Wahlenb.

Water Sedge, Leafy Tussock Sedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

A clumpy, 1-5 ft. sedge. Thick, smooth culms slightly exceed the leaves in height. Brown or blackish spikes are stiff and erect. A leaflike bract extends beyond the cluster of spikes.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent.


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , SD , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Circumboreal at high latitudes, extending s. in N. America to NJ, IN, MO, KS, NM, AZ & e. of the Cascades to CA
Native Habitat: Wet meadows and shallow water at northern latitudes or mid- to high-elevations

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Wet soil to shallow water.
Conditions Comments: Recommended for wetland restoration projects.


Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Carex aquatilis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Carex aquatilis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Carex aquatilis


Record Modified: 2022-10-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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