Mt Cuba Center
Mt Cuba Center
Back to trial Carex for the Mid-Atlantic Region

Trial Garden

Carex haydenii (Hayden’s sedge)

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Carex haydenii, or Hayden’s sedge, is one of the most striking and statuesque species in the trial. Silver spikes of new growth emerge from the ground in early April, followed by elegant, sweeping inflorescences that resemble sprays of rusty brown and white pipe cleaners. As the foliage matures the plant takes on an upright, vase-shaped habit that relaxes to a more mounded profile as the growing season progresses. Carex haydenii is similar to Carex stricta and they can inhabit the same wet and sunny locations in the wild, although C. stricta has a wider geographic range. In the evaluation, C. haydenii was taller and more upright than C. stricta, but they both produce similarly beautiful floral displays, form strong clumps, and are completely deciduous. Key details of the perigynea are used to differentiate the two species when a positive identification from other traits remains elusive. This species could be utilized in a variety of landscapes with wet-to-average soils and may be particularly well-suited for wet open meadows and rain gardens.


  • Rating
    4.5/4.5 (Shade/Sun) Top Performer 
  • Common Name
    Hayden’s sedge  
  • Size
    31” x 61” 
  • Growth habit
  • Texture
  • Winter foliage
  • Mowing rating
    2.1/1.7 (Shade/Sun)