Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

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.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:

Carex rostrata

Carex rostrata Stokes

Beaked Sedge, Swollen Beaked Sedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Synonym(s): Carex rostrata var. ambigens

USDA Symbol: CARO6

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

This is a 1-3 ft., light green sedge with a loosely clumpy growth form. Leaves and culms arise from stolons and a short rootstock. Shiny culms are thick and spongy with grayish to reddish sheaths at the base. Culms are shorter than the uppermost leaves but the leaflike bracts are longer than the inflorescence. The topmost, staminate spikes are erect and narrow; the lower pistallate spikes are cylindrical and droop with age. Swollen beaked sedge is a perennial.


From the Image Gallery

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Spike
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent. Bloom time refers to fruiting period for Carex spp.


USA: AK , ID , IL , MI , MN , MT , WA , WI
Canada: BC , NB , NL , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Greenland to AK, s. to DE, WV, TN, SD, NM & CA
Native Habitat: Stream and lake margins, swamps & wet meadows

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Wet soil to shallow water.
Conditions Comments: Stems arising from creeping rhizomes can form a dense sod.


Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed 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 26 - Minnesota Wildflowers: a field guide to the flora of Minnesota (2009)
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


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

Go back