Audubon® Gray's Sedge
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Fun and wicked! Gray’s Sedge is a fascinating little plant that bears the weirdest fruiting structures—they’re puffy and prickly and look like medieval maces! These miniature “weapons” make for interesting additions to fresh or dried arrangements. Better yet, leave them on the plant, and let the birds enjoy the seeds. Game birds such as Ruffed Grouse, wild turkeys, and pheasants enjoy Sedge seeds, as do many songbirds, including Cardinals, Song Sparrows, Redpolls, and Painted Buntings. Ideal for pondside plantings (it loves constant moisture), Gray’s Sedge is also nice in lightly shaded beds and borders. A conversation starter!
May Benefit & Attract: Ruffed Grouse, turkeys, pheasants, cardinals, sparrows, redpolls, and buntings
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Gray’s Sedge’s funny seedpods are not merely ornamental. The seed cases are filled with pockets of air so that they float. Gray’s Sedge often grows near water, and the buoyant pods allow the seeds to drift away and find new homes away from the mother plant. This reproduction strategy has been effective, enabling the species to establish a huge natural range that stretches from Minnesota to Massachusetts and south to Oklahoma and Florida. First identified in the 1800s, Gray’s Sedge was named for celebrated American botanist and Harvard professor, Asa Gray.
You wouldn’t think moths and butterflies would be interested in a plant without nectar-producing flowers, but Gray’s Sedge attracts some of these insects by another means. Its foliage serves as caterpillar food for Virginia ctenucha moths, American ear moths, Appalachian brown butterflies, eyed brown butterflies, and several skippers.
How to Grow
Gray’s Sedge is easy to grow, provided you have rich, fertile soil that doesn’t dry out. A location with afternoon shade or light shade all day will suit it best, though it can handle full sun with constant moisture. Gray’s Sedge’s decorative seedheads are often attractive all winter; leave them standing for your enjoyment and for the birds. You can cut them down just before new growth begins in spring if you’d like. Gray’s Sedge forms a clump and doesn’t run like some other Sedges, though it will spread out a bit in time.
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