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Slough Sedge
Family: (Sedge family) [E-flora]
Other Names: [E-flora]



General: Perennial, densely tufted herb from long, creeping rhizomes and fibrous roots, the roots with soft, reddish-brown hairs; stems 30-150 cm tall, arising a few or many together, longer than the leaves. [IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: Sheaths tight, cross-wrinkled, reddish- to brownish-tinged at the base, the lowest ones breaking into threads; ligules as long as wide, rounded; blades 2 to 5 per stem, flat to channeled, borne on the lower 1/4 of the stem, 3-10 mm wide, the lower ones reduced.[IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: Spikes 3 to 7, the terminal 2 (sometimes 1 or 3) linear, 1.5-6 cm long, long-stalked, with many male flowers, the lower spikes 2 to 4, cylindrical, 1.5-6 cm long, with female flowers, or some with male flowers above the female flowers, these short-stalked, spreading or nodding; bract subtending the lowest spike leaflike, sheathless, longer than the inflorescence, the bracts reduced above. [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: Perigynia broadly egg-shaped, leathery, 2.2-3.5 mm long, 1-1.2 mm wide, greenish or brownish, biconvex, smooth, faintly nerved, marginally 2-ribbed, the bases round, short-stalked, beakless or short-beaked, the beaks 0.1-0.2 mm long, entire or nearly so; female scales lanceolate, long-pointed or awned, as wide as and much longer than the perigynia, reddish-brown to dark brown, with 3-nerved, lighter centres, with narrow, translucent margins; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, sometimes constricted in the middle, smooth, 1.6-2.2 mm long. [IFBC-E-flora]
USDA Flower Colour: Yellow
USDA Blooming Period: Mid-Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics:

Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer

Habitat / Range
Swamps, marshes, riverbanks, wet meadows and alluvial forests in the lowland zone; common in S coastal BC; S to CA. [IFBC-E-flora]
Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information
A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Pacific North American sedge. Occurs in hypermaritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on wet to very wet, nitrogen-rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms); its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Scattered to plentiful (often dominant) in graminoid-dominated, semi-terrestrial communities; on water-collecting sites (fens, bogs, and marshes) with gleysolic or organic soils. A nitrophytic species characteristic of nutrient-rich wetlands. [IPCBC][E-flora]

Other Uses

Weaving Material 

In the summer, the vegetative or “female” plants were selected. The leaves were cut off at or just below the ground level. They were tied in bundles and taken back to the village. “We removed and discarded the outer leaves, peeled off the inner ones and split them lengthwise exactly in half by running a thumbnail along the midrib. Pieces not split exactly in half were discarded. We then ran each half through the closed thumb and forefinger to flatten it and make it flexible. We had to be careful not to cut our fingers, because the leaf edges are extremely sharp. Finally, we tied the processed halves in bundles of several dozen each and hung them up by their lower ends to dry. Dried bundles are stored for weaving in the fall and winter.” [PlantTech]
Leaves used to make fine, closely woven hats and baskets. Leaves were softened by rubbing and used as insoles for moccasins. Sharp edged leaves used for shaving. [Moerman]


Another harvesting technique was the intentional thinning of density-dependent species such as slough sedge (Carex obnupta) for basketry; this is said to aid the growth and reproduction of the plants (Craig 1998). Similar thinning has been observed to enhance the growth of Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), cattail and stinging nettle; all of these die back in the winter, and hence are not harmed by late-season harvesting. [FCTM USDA]

Carex magnifica Dewey ex Piper[E-flora]


The information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes. Self diagnosis and treatment, without due diligence, could be harmful and is not encouraged. Some information & images may be copyright. Every effort has been made to present the information in the spirit with which it was originally presented. Some data has been omitted for legal and/or practical consideration. There is some data not covered in the scope of this project, including, but not limited to, cell culture and large-dose animal studies. I have made comparisons and links between related species which may later prove erroneous. I have not verified the information for accuracy and I accept no responsibility for its authenticity. Many of the plants presented are poisonous, have poisonous properties, or could cause illness through misuse, allergic reaction, drug interactions and environmental contaminants. Please use caution and mindfulness when harvesting plants for any use.

Page last modified on 31-10-2016