GUIDE TO GRASSES, SEDGES & RUSHES - GO TO ORDERING PAGE FOR CURRENT AVAILABILITY

 

Andropogon gerardii  (Big Bluestem)
Turkey-foot Grass, so named for its 3 branched flower head, has been an important species in tall grass prairies for thousands of years. Tall (known to reach 12 ft.) and clump forming.  Its bluish hue turns bronze in the fall and looks quite majestic in mass plantings. Drought tolerant. Attracts birds & butterflies. Used extensively in restoration. Perennial • 3-7 feet • Sun to partial shade • Moist to dry soil • Blooms August to Sept. Habitat: Prairies and sandy shorelines

Bouteloua curtipendula (Side Oats Grama)
A compact, clump-forming prairie grass which is fairly rare but native to parts of southern Ontario. The long arching stems produce dangling clusters of oat-like seeds in late summer which turn a golden colour in the fall. Would make a good addition to a planting of short prairie wildflowers. Drought tolerant. Provides food for small birds. Perennial • 18-30 inches • Sun • Dry soil • Blooms July to August. Habitat: Dry prairies, sandy hills and open dry woods

Carex aurea (Golden Sedge)
This tiny little Sedge with pale green to yellow foliage has small green blooms in June which later produce light brown, edible seeds in mid summer. Commonly found in damp, silty, limestone-based soils. Provides food for small mammals & birds. Perennial • 4-6 inches • Sun • Wet to moist calcareous soil • Blooms June. Habitat: Moist to wet shores & meadows in calcareous soil

Carex bicknellii (Copper-shouldered Sedge)
Tussock-forming sedge with silvery brown to green, oval flower spikes. Seed heads are golden brown. An attractive sedge, adding a vertical texture to the landscape. Tolerant of drought. Copper-shouldered Sedge would make a unique display for grass collectors. Perennial • 2-3 feet • Sun • Average to dry soil • Blooms May to June. Habitat: Dry prairies, old fields, dry slopes

 

Carex eburnea (Ebony Sedge)
A very graceful, low tufting, •miniature• Sedge with delicate pale green bristly needle-like leaves. This Carex is often associated in the wild with mosses. Small, greenish-white flowers appear in late spring. Endangered in much of the northeast.  Would make an excellent addition to a rockery.  Limited quantities available.  Perennial • 6-10 inches • Sun/part shade • Dry to moist calcareous soil • Booms in June. Habitat: Rocky and sandy outcrops

Carex grayii (Gray's Sedge)
The cover species on our 2001 catalogue, the bold texture of this Carex never ceases to amaze. The striking feature of C. grayii is the chestnut-sized, green flowered spiked orb which resembles the mace, a medieval weapon. The plant turns golden in the autumn.  A good choice for a pond edge and for restoration plantings. Named for the historic botanist, Asa Gray.  One of the most popular sedges being used by pond gardeners. Perennial • 18-30 inches • Sun to part shade • Moist rich soil • Blooms July. Habitat: Open wet woods, wet meadows 

Carex hystericina (Porcupine Sedge)
A valuable species for marsh and wet meadow wetland restorations. The plant gets its name from the bristly flower spikes.  C. hystericina provides food for many species of wetland birds including the Black Duck. Would add to species diversity along a pond. Perennial • 1-3 feet • Full sun • Moist to wet rich soil • Blooms June to August. Habitat: Wet meadows, swamps & shores
 

Carex intumescens (Bladder Sedge)           
A distinctive, wide-leaved Sedge with blooms similar to Carex grayii but smaller. Blends in well with and a contrast to many spring-blooming woodland wildflowers. One of the more interesting woodland Carex species.
Perennial • 12-18 inches • Shade to part sun • Rich, moist soil • Blooms May
Habitat: Rich, deciduous woods                  

Carex laxiflora (Loose-flowered Sedge)           
A distinctive, wide-leaved, tussock-forming Sedge with pale green leaves and seed heads. Blends in well with and a contrast to many spring-blooming woodland wildflowers. One of the more interesting woodland Carex species.
Perennial • 1-2 feet • Shade to part shade • Rich, moist soil • Blooms May
Habitat: Rich, deciduous woods & meadows                 

Carex muskingumensis (Muskingum Sedge)
A clumping, tallish, visually-striking Sedge with a bold leaf structure resembling a Palm tree. The plant turns a brilliant yellow colour in the fall. Would provide a smart accent alongside a water feature or to landscape along a swale.
Perennial • 20-40 inches • Sun to part shade • Moist soil, clay tolerant • Blooms June to July
Habitat: Low woods and wet meadows                  

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge)
A colony-forming plant suited to open dry areas or open woodlands. The leaves are long, thin and delicate, while the elongated thimble-like flowers have a reddish-brown colouring. Tolerates dry shade.  Extremely useful in a wide range of landscapes. Perennial • 6-12 inches • Sun to Shade • Moist to dry soil • Blooms May to June. Habitat: Open woods and dry savannas

    

Carex sprengelii (Long-beaked Sedge)
Tussock-forming Sedge, with long slender stalks. Loose flower spikes bear seedhusks with long beaks. Useful in diversifying the species and texture of a woodland garden. Perennial • 2-3 feet • Part sun to shade • Moist soil • Blooms May. Habitat: Moist, deciduous woods, wooded terraces

Carex vulpinoidea (Fox Sedge)           
This lovely narrow-leaved, clump-forming Sedge produces brownish-yellow seed heads which spray out from the center, creating an interesting effect in the landscape. Small birds are attracted to the seeds.
Perennial • 18-24 inches •  Sun to part sun • Wet to moist soil • Blooms mid summer
Habitat: Marshes and other low, wet places                 

 
 

Elymus canadensis (Canada Wild Rye)            
This graceful looking native Rye grass produces long, nodding, showy wheat-like flowers with long spurs that turn golden as they mature. Culturally it performs best in a sand dune or shoreline situation which is often disturbed by wind but will tolerate other habitats as well.  It also looks nice in dried flowers arrangements in the fall. The seeds are eaten by small birds.
Perennial • 2-3 feet • Full sun • Dry to moist sandy soil • Blooms August to September 
Habitat: Prairies, dry meadows, dunes & sandy shores                 

 

Elymus hystrix (Bottle-brush Grass)
This native woodland grass is aptly named •
hystrix•  which is Greek for hedgehog.  The airy bottle-brush flower heads look attractive in dried flower arrangements.  Excellent plant for dry, shady areas.  Provides interesting texture & food for birds in late summer. Perennial • 2-4 feet • Partial to full shade • Average soil • Blooms July to August. Habitat: Open, deciduous woodlands

Festuca saximontana (Rocky Mountain Fescue)
This slender, densely tufted native grass, forms attractive compact mounds in the landscape and has a distinctive bluish hue. A popular grass and is drought tolerant. Perennial • 8-12 inches • Full sun • Average, well-drained soil • Blooms June to July. Habitat: Sandy shores, dunes, exposed rocks

  

Hierochole odorata (Sweetgrass)
Very aromatic. This vanilla-scented grass is one of the most recognized herbs used in  native American ceremonial peace and healing rituals. Stems are braided together and burned incense-like or used as a scented fire-starter or room freshener. Aggressive. Perennial • 1-2 feet • Sun to part shade • Average to wet soil • Blooms June. Habitat: Moist meadows

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Koeleria macranthra (June Grass)
A rare, compact bunching grass, occurring on Walpole Island and along beaches of Lake Erie. The leaves are extremely narrow and delicate with showy white seed heads appearing in July . Extremely drought tolerant. A good choice for grass collectors. Perennial • 1-2 feet • Full sun • Average to dry soil • Blooms June. Habitat: Prairies, sandy hills & open woods

Panicum virgatum (Switch Grass)
An important Tallgrass prairie species, this hardy, tall, drought tolerant grass produces long arching, cloud-like seed heads in late summer. The plant turns an orangey-yellow colour in the fall and is looks nice standing in the garden all winter. Attracts  birds. Used extensively in prairie restoration projects. Attractive in a cut flower arrangement. Perennial • 4-6 feet • Sun to part shade • Average to dry soil • Blooms Aug to Sept. Habitat: Prairies, open woods, dunes, shores

Schizachyrum scoparium (Little Bluestem)
Perhaps the most commonly used grass species in prairie restorations, Little Bluestem is likely the most popular native grass with gardeners also. Its• compact, clumping form, striking reddish-gold colour in the fall and feathery white seed heads combine to make a powerful display in the landscape. Tolerant of drought and poor soil. Attracts birds. Perennial • 2-3 feet • Full sun • Average to dry soil • Blooms August to October. Habitat: Prairies, alvars & sandy shorelines

Scirpus atrovirens (Green Bulrush)
This grass-like rush is clump-forming, producing clusters of brownish, spherical blooms in mid-summer. A valuable species in wetland restoration and would provide a delicate, vertical texture at the edge of a pond. Provides food, shelter and nesting for birds. Perennial • 3-4 feet • Sun • Moist to wet soil • Blooms July to August. Habitat: Swamps and wet meadows

 

 

Sorghastrum nutans (Indian Grass)
An essential Tallgrass prairie species, Indian Grass produces dramatic, silky, golden brown seed heads that attract birds. Larval host plant for several butterfly species. Becoming popular with gardeners. Tolerates clay. Lovely in dried flower arrangements. Perennial • 3-6 feet • Sun • Average to dry soil • Blooms August to October. Habitat: Moist or dry prairies, open woods and fields

  

Spartina pectinata (Slough Grass, Cord Grass)
Also known as Prairie Cord Grass,
Spartina is a dense, bold, erect tufted grass which grows spikes up to 7 feet and bears lovely light yellowish-green comb-like flower spikes in late summer. Valued in restoration for stabilizing soil on wet edges and for providing food and shelter for birds and waterfowl. Attractive in dried flower displays. Perennial • 4-7 feet • Sun to light shade • Moist to wet soil • Blooms Aug to Sept. Habitat: Wet prairies, marshes, shorelines & riverbanks

Sporobolus cryptandrus (Sand Dropseed)
This grass is extremely drought tolerant, and enjoys sandy barren soils along the edge of a laneway or path. It blends well with other prairie grasses and forbs on a dry site. Attractive in the fall meadow where golden awl-shaped stems wave in the wind. The seeds are eaten by many small birds. Valuable for restoring foliage on a dry site. Perennial • 18-30 inches • Full sun  • Average to dry soil • Blooms August.
Habitat: Prairies and dry, sandy places