Carex complanata

blue sedge, hirsute sedge


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Type


Leaf Shape


Growth Form


Flower Color

brown, green, yellow

Flower Month

April - June

Height (meters)

0.3 - 0.8

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Cool season

Wetland Class


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

Similar to Carex frankii which is found mostly in bottomland hardwoods and has leaves 1/4 to 1/2 inches wide while those of C. complanata are 1/16 inch wide. Carex glaucescens is also similar but occurs most commonly in pine-hardwood uplands and also has 1/4-1/2 inch wide leaves but its upper leaf surfaces are gray-green. Male flowers are brown, located beneath terminal female spike. Smooth seeds.

Cultural Information

Steffen (1997) reports the seeds of most Carex species germinate best when planted fresh.

Animal Use

Carex is considered an important cover plant for waterfowl. The following information is for the genus Carex: Animals that eat its seeds: Coot, Canvasback duck, American golden eye duck, Mallard duck, Pintail duck, Redhead duck, Blue-winged teal duck, Cinnamon teal duck, Green-winged teal duck, Wood duck, Virginia rail, Yellow rail, Stilt sandpiper, White-rumped sandpiper, Wild tukey, Woodcock, Painted bunting, Cardinal, Horned lark, Savannah sparrow, Tree sparrow. Animals that eat its seeds and leaves: Black bear, Jack rabbit, Eastern gray squirrel, Animals that eat its seeds, leaves, roots: Common mole. Animals that eat the plant: White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951). Produces little herbage and therefore doesn't significantly contribute to the cattle diet.

Natural History

Blue sedge is abundant in sandy loam soils in woodlands. It is usually found in prairie after woody invasion has begun and appears to be an indicator of the need for fire. In the pineywoods it is found in upland sites in association with bluestem and panicum grasses (Grelen and Hughes 1984). It is found in east and southeast Texas and throughout Louisiana except in the southeastern parishes. It ranges throughout most of the eastern United States.


Low woods, moist sandy woods, pinelands, ditches, meadows, dry upland, open wooded slopes.