Squarrose Sedge, Narrow-Leaved Cattail Sedge
Synonyms of Carex squarrosa (4) (Updated on 5-4-21 from Plants of the World Online): Carex squarrosa f. robusta Peck, Carex squarrosa var. typhinoides (Schwein.) Dewey, Carex typhinoides Schwein., Vignea squarrosa (L.) Rchb.
Carex squarrosa L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Carex. Both the genus species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 1,997 species in the Carex genus (as of 5-4-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Cyperaceae with 92 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The above distribution map for Carex squarrosa is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native. The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada is similar but also includes the state of Wisconsin. The species could be more widespread than what the maps show. The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER PLANT ID.
I found a colony of Carex granularis while wildflower hunting on a friend’s farm on May 10 in 2020. Carex species are quite common, Missouri Plants listing 25 species and Plants of the World Online listing nearly 2,000 worldwide. I have identified other members of the plant family Cyperaceae on my farm, but not Carex squarrosa.
All Carex species are perennial and grow from rhizomes, stolons, or short rootstocks. The leaves look like any other ordinary grass at a glance. The flower-bearing stalks, culms, are unbranched and grow to around 2’ tall or more.
Honestly, I read descriptions of this species on several websites and to re-write in my own words would be very complicated. I always heard a photo is worth a thousand words… It would probably be much better for you to look at the photos and then go to Missouri Plants and Illinois Wildflowers to read their descriptions.
Sedges grow in a variety of habitats but seem to prefer moist to wet soil in full to part shade. Several species of caterpillars and grasshoppers feed on their leaves and the seeds are eaten by a number of birds. Cattle may eat the leaves, but it is not favored by deer or rabbits.
I planned on going back to the area I saw the Carex squarrosa in 2020 to take more photos of their seeds but I became busy with other projects (mainly the garden). Hopefully, I can go back in 2021 and take more detailed photos so I can write descriptions. It is much easier to write descriptions when you have a lot of flowers of various parts.
Grasses in general haven’t been my “thing” because they can be quite complicated even though one might think they are simple. Sedges are not exactly grasses. They are “grass-like”. 🙂 Until they flower, to me they are grass… I have a lot of grass…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂