Yellow-Fruited Sedge

Yellow-fruited_Sedge_jpgThe Cyperaceae family commonly called the Rush or Sedge family includes eight genera and approximately three hundred species of grass-like plants.  In ancient times rushes were used to make roofs, writing instruments, bedding, caulking for ships and some were used to make arrows.  A more poetic use was for musical pipes.  In the Middle Ages rushes were used to cover cold stone floors and were swept away when dirty. The presence of members of this family of plants indicates damp soil or low meadows.  Yellow-Fruited Sedge is found in open wet soil. Approximately 500 species of Carex are found in the United States—nearly half of those found worldwide. Because of their wide availability the seeds of sedges are eaten by many kinds of wildlife.  The seeds of Yellow-Fruited Sedge is important to waterfowl and songbirds.  In addition to providing food, this plant provides nesting cover and for ducks and the tufted growths furnish concealment to other small animals. The common name refers to the sac enclosing the fruit, which is yellow-tan.

OtherCommonName:

Fox Sedge, Fruited Sedge

ScientificName:

Carex vulpinoidea var. ambigua

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

12 to 40 inches

FruitingTime:

June to October

Distribution:

Newfoundland to Florida ~ Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

May to August

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Stems stout, clustered ~ Leaves scattered along the lower half or two-thirds of the stem, flat, narrow ~ inflorescence linear, stiff, straight, 5-15cm long, composed of up to 6 clusters of spikes with elongated bracts ~ Sac enclosing the fruit is light yellow-tan The following rhythm may help distinguish sedges from the similar appearing sedges, grasses, and rushes: Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses have joints from the tips to the ground. The leaves of Yellow-Fruited Sedge are flat and narrow; they appear to have “edges”.