Sedge adds visual pop to leis and landscapes
Description: Graceful sedges that form thick clumps and reach about 3 feet. They have long, slender, dark green blades, each about a half-inch across at the base, gradually reducing to a narrow, elongated apex. Tiny flowers emerge on the upper portion of long stalks called spikes. Once pollinated, the flowers become small, seedlike fruit called achenes and can range from light brown to bright orange. They're beautiful.
This species can be found in dry forest and mesic areas on all the main islands except Kahoolawe and Niihau. It grows near the coast to upper elevations of about 3,000 feet, usually on ridges or under story slopes, on cliffs and gulches.
Cultural and other uses: The long, slender blades can be used to accentuate leis, and recently I've seen them, as well as their flowers and seed stalks, in flower arrangements.
Landscape use and care: Carex looks absolutely awesome in landscapes. Plants can be used either as accents around larger landscaping stones and at the base of other plants or as a border to define walkways and edges. Their fine, fibrous roots are great for controlling erosion, and they can be planted as a mass ground cover even on steep slopes. These plants are highly versatile and can handle moderate to little watering, as well as full sun to partial shade. They also stand up well in areas of high wind.
co-owns Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a native Hawaiian plant nursery, with Matt Schirman. Contact him at 259-6580 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org