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Carex stricta (Upright sedge)
Smith, R.W.

Carex stricta

Carex stricta Lam.

Upright Sedge, Uptight Sedge, Tussock Sedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Synonym(s): Carex stricta var. strictior, Carex strictior

USDA Symbol: CAST8

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

A slender, 2-5 ft. grass-like plant with a cluster of brown seed capsules clinging high on the stem. Stems bearing greenish or brownish spikes of inconspicuous flowers above dense tufts of grass-like leaves. Green leaves are exceeded by the stem in height. Forms large tufts or hummocks to 3 ft. wide.

The easiest way to recognize this sedge is by its distinctive, elevated tussocks (dense tufts) in open wet areas. It grows abundantly, often in seasonally flooded sites.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

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

Bloom Information

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


USA: AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. to Ont., s. to NC, TN & KS
Native Habitat: Acid or neutral swamps; swales; low woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet soil to standing water.


Use Wildlife: Excellent nesting habitat for rails and snipes.
Use Other: Harvested for insulation in ice packing houses and used for rug making. (Kershaw)
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Mulberry Wing butterfly (Poanes massasoit)

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Eyed Brown
(Satyrodes eurydice)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Mulberry Wing
(Poanes massasoit)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Black Dash
(Euphyes conspicua)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Commercially Avail: yes

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:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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