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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 planostachys (Cedar sedge)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Carex planostachys

Carex planostachys Kunze

Cedar Sedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)


USDA Symbol: CAPL3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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 doesn't 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), Drummond's Ruellia (Ruellia drummondiana), Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila phacelioides), and Straggler Daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis). It can take occasional mowing and light foot traffic.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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: Spike , Terminal
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Normally about 6 inches tall
Leaf: Green

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: AR , AZ , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Oklahoma south to Guatemala
Native Habitat: Prairies, plains, savannas, 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


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native grasses for shade in Dallas
November 30, 2008
What native grasses can be grown under large Live Oaks in the Dallas Area? The combination of shade and black gumbo soil seem to keep all plant life, except for poison ivy and ferns, out. I would lo...
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Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
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Sedges and ornamentals for shade in Bastrop County
June 20, 2007
I bought a home in Elgin, TX that was owned by an elderly woman. Most of the lawn is shaded by elm or pecan trees. In the sunny areas, i got native wildflowers to grow like lantana and coneflower,...
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From the National Organizations Directory

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

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0714 Collected Feb 27, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2010-11-22
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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