Ecological Restoration Specialists

Grasses, sedges & rushes

 

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Terms defined

Current inventory may include species not on this list—please inquire.

CIMG0395

 

American dunegrassLyngbye’s sedgeSmall-fruited bulrush
Baltic rushReed mannagrassSoft rush
Beaked sedgeSawbeak sedgeTall mannagrass
Brown woolly sedgeSeacoast bulrushTapered rush
Common spikerushShore sedgeTufted hairgrass
Common threesquareSlender rushWestern inflated sedge
Dagger-leaf rushSlender-foot sedge
Hardstem bulrushSlough sedge

 

 

Carex exsiccata (C. vesicaria)   Western inflated sedge
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: tufts to 36 inches or sometimes spreading on short rhizomes

Found on pond and lake shores, wet meadows, and in seasonal ponds. Inflated sedge transplants well, grows vigorously, and tolerates both winter innundation and summer drying. In shallow, emergent freshwater wetlands, this species can form dense carpets that dominate the plant community. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Carex lenticularis var. lipocarpa (kelloggii)   Shore sedge
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: dense tufts to 30 inches, no rhizomes

Found on lakeshores, stream-banks, wet meadows, and bogs. Shore sedge generally transplants and grows well, and tolerates frequent water level fluctuations, although it spreads slowly. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Carex leptopoda (C. deweyana var. leptopoda)   Slender-foot sedge
Exposure: partial to full shade
Soil moisture: moist
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: loose tufts to 26 inches, no rhizomes

Found in mesic to moist forests, often in or near the riparian zone. In the Puget trough, slender-foot sedge is the most common of three distinct species that were formerly grouped together as Dewey’s sedge, and the more common of only two forested upland sedge species (the other is Carex hendersonii). Slender-foot sedge generally transplants and grows well in the shade. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Carex lyngbyei   Lyngbye’s sedge
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: spreading on deep rhizomes to form dense stands, to 50 inches

Lyngybye’s sedge forms dense stands in coastal salt marshes on Puget Sound, on the outer coast of Washington and Oregon, and along the lower Columbia River.  Lyngbye’s sedge is important for estuary restoration because it dominates shorelines and provides critical nutrient inputs in areas where juvenile salmonids feed and shelter. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Carex obnupta   Slough sedge
Exposure: full sun to shade
Soil moisture: moist to wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: dense tufts to 60 inches on long, fleshy rhizomes

Slough sedge is the superstar of emergent revegetation. It transplants very well, grows and spreads quickly, tolerates wide seasonal water level fluctuations, and is one of the few shade-tolerant sedges. If project conditions are at all suitable, it will perform impressively. It is one of our most competitive emergents against invasive species; established swards may resist even reed canarygrass. Slough sedge is very common and is found in wet woods, ditches, meadows, lakeshores, streambanks, and marshes. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Carex stipata   Sawbeak sedge
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: dense tufted clumps to 40 inches, no rhizomes

This widespread species frequents wet meadows, ditches, and streamsides. It likes disturbed ground, which means it prefers the conditions of most restoration and mitigation sites. It grows vigorously, but does not spread by rhizomes. Sometimes tolerant of part shade. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Carex utriculata (rostrata)   Beaked sedge
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet to shallow water
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: large, thick stems to 45 inches, arising from long rhizomes and stolons

Beaked sedge is a common species found in soils wet year-round, such as the edges of ponds and lakes. It is sometimes tolerant of shade. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Deschampsia cespitosa   Tufted hairgrass
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: moist to wet, can be well-drained
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: dense tufts to 5 feet, hummock forming

Tufted hairgrass is found in profusion on tidal marshes and also occurs on river bars and lakeshores. It is considered a keystone species for wet meadows. It transplants and grows well. Tolerates occasional drying and salt water and will not accept year-round flooding. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Eleocharis palustris   Common spikerush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet to shallow water
Transplanting success: medium
Growth rate: unknown
Form: small clusters to 40 inches along rhizomes

Common spikerush is found in wet meadows, tidal marshes, and shorelines. It can spend much of the year in shallow water, but needs to dry out for at least a few months during the growing season. Tolerates some salt water. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Elymus mollis (Leymus mollis)  American dunegrass
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: moist
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: stout stems to 5 feet, from scaly rhizomes

American dunegrass is the most common grass in the nearshore and backshore environments of Puget Sound, and is widespread along the outer coast of Washington and Oregon. It occurs in broad, extensive stands on dunes and gravelly beaches, frequently comprising the dominant vegetation bewteen beaches and inland areas. This species forms the cornerstone for many beach revegetation plantings, and is essential for controlling beach erosion. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

 

Glyceria elata   Tall mannagrass
Exposure: full sun to partial shade
Soil moisture: moist to wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: somewhat tufted perennial, almost succulent, to 4.5 feet, with creeping rhizomes

Tall mannagrass prefers open habitat and is typically found on streamsides, wet meadows, and lakeshores. It transplants well, and grows quickly. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Glyceria grandis   Reed mannagrass
Exposure: full sun to partial shade
Soil moisture: moist to wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: tall, single stems to 6 feet arising from creeping rhizomes

One of our frequent customers calls this species a “workhorse” because it transplants and grows so well: it tolerates wide seasonal water fluctuations and is robust enough to be somewhat competitive with invasive species. We are encouraged by this endorsement to recommend it to others. It can take drier, shadier habitats than tall mannagrass. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Juncus acuminatus   Tapered rush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet to shallow water
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: medium to rapid
Form: mostly tufted to 30 inches, sometimes with short rhizomes and in dense mats

Tapered rush prefers to be wet throughout the year, frequenting the shallow water of lakeshores, ditches, meadows, and marshes. This species matures quickly and produces prolific seeds that may aid in your revegetation efforts. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Juncus balticus (J. arcticus var. balticus)   Baltic rush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: medium to rapid
Form: loose carpets from rhizomes, to 27″

Baltic rush froms uniform carpets or sometimes grows intermixed with tufted hairgrass, above estuarine mudflats. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Juncus effusus   Softrush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: moist to wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: scattered tufts growing on thick rhizomes, to 39″

Soft rush is the most common rush in the Pacific Northwest. It is widespread in wet pastures and disturbed areas, and occurs less commonly in salt marshes and tideflats, where it may grow intermixed with tufted hairgrass and saltgrass. Soft rush has a reputation for invasiveness, but in our experience it rarely forms monocultures, and can provide fairly rapid cover on marginal emergent sites with disturbed, compacted soils. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

 

Juncus ensifolius   Dagger-leaf rush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: moist to wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: medium
Form: stems to 24 inches arising from fat rhizomes, often growing in a line

This small rush grows in moist sites but usually not in standing water. Common in wet meadows and tolerates somewhat compacted soil. We have seen this species spread rapidly along moist, disturbed shorelines. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Juncus tenuis   Slender rush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: moist to wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: unknown
Form: tufted and slender to 26 inches, fibrous roots

Slender rush is most frequent in disturbed sites such as pastures, roadsides, and clearings. It is tolerant of compacted soils, some shade, and some drought, which means it will survive the conditions of many mitigation sites! Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Schoenoplectus acutus var. acutus (Scirpus lacustris ssp. acutus)   Hardstem bulrush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet to shallow water
Transplanting success: medium
Growth rate: rapid
Form: stout, tall stems to 10 feet, from rhizomes

Hardstem bulrush can form large colonies in standing water at lakeshores and marshes. It grows in deeper water than any other emergents we grow–plant it at a depth of 2-8″ at lowest water. Generally a fresh water species, but can tolerate some salt water. Provides food, cover, and/or nesting sites for many species of birds and mammals. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Schoenoplectus maritumus (Scirpus maritimus,  Boboschoenus maritimus)   Seacoast bulrush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: unknown
Growth rate: unknown
Form: stout, erect stems to 5 feet, from rhizomes

Seacoast bulrush occurs primarily in high salt marshes, sometimes in association with Lyngbye’s sedge. Provides food for migrating and wintering waterfowl, especially snow geese. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Schoenoplectus pungens (Scirpus americanus, S. pungens)   Common threesquare
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: thin, erect stems to 3 feet, from thick rhizomes

Common threesquare occurs in estuarine salt marshes, and in freshwater wetlands with year-round saturation. In our experience, this species will not do well in sites that dry up for more than a few days. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Scirpus cyperinus   Brown woolly sedge
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet to shallow water
Transplanting success: medium
Growth rate: medium
Form: tufted stems to 5 feet, nonrhizomatous

Tolerates up to about 12 inches of water during the growing season and soil should be saturated year round. Bristles on the seed heads give this species its “woolly” appearance. We observed this species thriving in a constructed wastewater treatment wetland. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

 

Scirpus microcarpus   Small-fruited bulrush
Exposure: full sun
Soil moisture: wet to shallow water
Transplanting success: high
Growth rate: rapid
Form: single, large stems to 5 feet, arising from rhizomes

Small-fruited bulrush is a vigorous grower in sloughs, streambanks, and disturbed sites such as ditches and wet clearings. This species likes to be wet year-round, although the soil may be dry at the surface during drought. It may tolerate some shade, but will grow less vigorously. Provides valuable food and nesting material for wildlife. Click here for photographs of this species on the University of Washington Herbarium website.

Top of emergents
Trees and shrubs
Groundcovers and herbaceous