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Carex meyenii

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Carex

Species

meyenii

Common Names

  • Meyen's carex
  • Meyen's sedge

Synonyms

  • Carex brunnea
  • Carex brunnea subsp. meyenii
  • Carex remyi

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Indigenous

Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Clumping

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Grass-like, Tall, Greater than or equal to 2.5

Mature Size, Width

This sedge has a 2-foot spread.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Ground Cover

Additional Landscape Use Information

Carex of several species have been used as ornamental additions in landscapes on the mainland for the interesting, sometimes colorful, foliage and seedheads. A few species are now in cultivation in Hawaiʻi.

Meyen's sedge can be used as a nice accent in landscapes under tall shrubs or trees in full to part sun locations. This thin leaved sedge makes an attractive groundcover when planted en masse.

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Brownish

Additional Flower Color Information

Plants have 2 to 3 yellowish brown flowers per branch.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves range from 12 to 28 inches long.

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

Meyen's sedge has numerous folded, stiff, narrow, sharp-teethed leaves with brown to dark brown sheaths.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Plants can attract ants, scale, thrips, mealy bugs and aphids.

leaf Growth Requirements

Fertilizer

Light applications of a balanced slow release fertilize with minor elements every six months is suggested. Foliar feeding in early morning with a water-soluble or an organic fertilizer (e.g. kelp or fish emulsion) at one-third to one-fourth the recommended strength monthly has proven beneficial. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

May need to occasionally to remove spent leaves and seeding spikes for a clean landscape appearance. Trimming flower spikes prolongs the plant's life but also removes a nice feature of this sedge. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

Meyen's sedge tolerates both dry and moist conditions.

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Spacing Information

For a thick ground cover, this sedge can be planted every 1 to 2 feet apart or, for a more natural appearance, may be randomly planted farther apart.

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Wind

Soils

  • Clay
  • Cinder
  • Organic

Limitations

Plant leaves have sharp teeth along the edges. As the saying goes, "sedges have edges."

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Kahoʻolawe
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Habitat

  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Meyen's sedge was known to be formerly from Kahoʻolawe, but is now extinct there. It is known to grow in dry and mesic forests, especially on slopes and ridges.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

There are about 2,000 species of Carex worldwide, more than any other genus in the Sedge family or Cyperaceae. Half of the eight species of Carex native to the Hawaiian islands are endemic or naturally found nowhere else.

Etymology

The generic name Carex is the classical Latin name for sedge, pehaps from carere, to be absent, as the upper spikes are staminate (male) and do not produce seeds.

The specific epithet meyenii was named after Franz Julius Ferdinand Meyen (1804-1840), a German physician and botanist.

Early Hawaiian Use

None of the eight native species appear to have any known Hawaiian names. Certainly the people knew these of interesting sedges and perhaps had uses for them.

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