Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bristle-leaved Sedge

Here’s a nice green patch on the hillside. It looks sort of out of place with all the surrounding brown. This plant is not a grass. This is a prime specimen of Bristle-leaved Sedge, Carex eburnea.

While sedges are more typically found in wet or moist areas, this particular species grows in dry upland limestone areas. It’s a fairly common plant in the more shaded parts of the barrens.

When it grows in colonies, a thick mat of wiry leaves develops. Older plants usually show a mix of dead leaves among the new green leaves, but the green color prevails for most of the year. This clump looks as though someone sank into the ground and left only their hair exposed. I can imagine the whole clump turning to reveal a dirty face.

The leaves are very thin and tough. I think this would make a very attractive ground cover. A solid mat on a steep bank would be nearly indestructible.

It’s not uncommon to see the formation of new clumps of this sedge. It’s not one I’ve tried growing from seed, but I think I may try it next year.

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