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Grasses, Sedges and Rushes

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Andropogon gerardii
 Big Bluestem
 

Exposure/Location: tall grass prairies, meadows, savannas, dry-moist, sand - clay soils, full sun-part shade

Height/Spread: 120-245cm (4-8ft) tall, clump forming

Bloom: late summer and early fall, purplish/bronze seed heads.

Comments: the stems and leaves have multiple colours, sometimes most the colours of the rainbow.  This grass also bears the name “Turkeyfoot grass” because
the seed head looks like a turkey’s foot.  Food source for birds, caterpillars, butterflies.

Bouteloua curtipendula – Side-oats Grama 

Exposure/Location: open woods, prairies, average-dry sandy soil, sun – part shade

Height/Spread: 45-85cm (18-30in) clump forming

Bloom: summer-fall, little oats form on the stem with bright orange and purple accents.

Comments: major food source for birds, can be used for sod.  Drought tolerant.


Carex aurea – Golden Sedge

Exposure/Location: shores, meadows, moist - dry soil,  full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 15cm (6 inches)

Bloom:  June, seeds are tiny orange yellow balls, relished by birds and small mammals

Comments: : spreads aggressively, great for filling areas


Carex eburnea – Ebony Sedge

Exposure/Location: :sandy, gravelly, moist - dry soil,  full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 15cm-25cm (6-10 inches)

Bloom:  May -June, black seeds form later

Comments: rare, endangered in parts of North America


Carex grayii –  Morningstar Sedge, Gray's Sedge

Exposure/Location:  open wet woods, average - moist soil, full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 45cm-75cm (18-30inches)

Bloom:  Late June- July,  seeds contained in green spiky ball

Comments: tough and versatile


Carex intumescens –  Bladder Sedge

Exposure/Location:  decidous woods, open wet woods, average - moist soil,  shade - part sun

Height/Spread: 30cm-45cm (12-18inches)

Bloom:  May,  seeds contained in green spiky ball

Comments: nice vibrant yellow green foliage


Carex muskingumensis –  Muskingum Sedge

Exposure/Location:  open wet woods, moist meadows, moist- average soil, full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 45cm-75cm (18-30inches)

Bloom:  June- July

Comments: leaf structure similar to palm leaves


Elymus canadensis – Canada Wild Rye 

Exposure/Location: :meadows, tall grass prairies, streams, shores, dunes, full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 60-90cm (2-3ft)

Bloom: August – September, golden wheat-like seed heads

Comments: looks and sounds nice in the wind


Elymus hystrix – Bottle Brush Grass

Exposure/Location: : forests, open woods, dry soil, full shade, part shade 

Height/Spread: 60-120cm (2-4ft)

Bloom: July- August, seeds heads are shape of bottle brush

Comments: good grass for shady locales, birds enjoy seed


Elymus virginiana – Virginia Wild Rye 

Exposure/Location: :open woods, savannahs, moist prairies, marsh, meadows, streams, full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 60-120cm (2-4ft)

Bloom: July-August, golden wheat-like seed heads

Comments: feeds wildlife, waterfowl


Festuca saximontana – Rocky Mountain Fescue

Exposure/Location: :sandy, exposed areas full sun, part shade 

Height/Spread: 18-40cm (10-16 inches)

Bloom: June-July, golden seed heads contrast with emerald green foliage

Comments: Evergreen!!! Very drought tolerant

Hierochloe odorata – Sweetgrass

Exposure/Location: :meadows, fields, open wet areas, streams, shores, dunes, full sun-part shade

Height/Spread: 30-60cm (1-2ft)

Bloom: May-June, greenish-yellow

Comments:  vanilla like sweet fragrance, grass is braided for smudging, spreading NOT clump forming


Panicum virgatum - Switch Grass

Exposure/Location: : tall grass prairies,shores, dunes, meadows, open woods, dry-moist, sand - clay soils, full sun- part shade

Height/Spread: 120-180cm (4-6ft)

Bloom: August – September,  foliage has nice fall colour

Comments: :very drought tolerant, good for birds and other wildlife


Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem

Exposure/Location: : tall grass prairies, meadows, dry-moist, sand - clay soils, full sun

Height/Spread: 60-90cm (2-3ft)

Bloom: August – September,

Comments: :very drought tolerant, marvelous fall colour


Scirpus atrovirens - Dark Green Bulrush

Exposure/Location: : ponds, streams, meadows, moist,  full sun

Height/Spread: 90-120cm (3-4ft)

Bloom: August – September,

Comments: :very vigorous plant, good for buffer strips, filtering water

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