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What is a sedge

What is a sedge

What is a sedge

Grasses, Sedges and Rushes all belong to the same plant family, that of Flowering plants (Angiosperms) and so are frequently confused with each other as they often have very similar characteristics. An old saying that often helps differentiate them – although it is not totally reliable – is: “Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses are hollow right up from the ground!”

Sedge

Sedges have a diverse distribution and can be found in all parts of the world except Antarctica. They grow in a broad range of habitats and altitudes, from the Arctic tundra through to temperate and tropical regions and are predominant plants in many wetlands. They also like man-made habitats such as canal banks andditches.The most well-known sedges are the Water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) and Papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus) – from which papyrus paper was made – and Bulrushes (Schoenoplectus), Cotton-grass (Eriophorum), Spike-rush (Eleocharis), Sawgrass (Cladium), Nutsedge/Nutgrass (Cyperus rotundus) and the White-star sedge (Rhynchospora colorata). Interestingly, the inappropriately named Bulrush (Typha latifolia/Schoenoplectus lacustris) and the Club-rush (Holoschoenus vulgaris) are also sedges and not rushes.

References: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Division of Technology, Industry and Economics; Botany for gardeners, Brian Capon, Third edition, Timber Press; Colour Identi cation Guide to the Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and north-western Europe, Francis Rose, Viking, The Penguin Group; Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, London; Missouri Botanical Garden; Latin for gardeners, Lorraine Harrison, Royal Horticultural Society; International Botanical Congress (IBC); RHS Gardeners’ encyclopaedia, Christopher Brickell ed., Dorling Kindersley; The Royal Horticultural Society; The Wild Flower Key, Frances Rose, Warne; Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press.Sedges are grass-like plants, grouped alongside ornamental grasses and rushes, although all of these plant types are botanically different. Distinguishing one from another is useful for the purpose of siting and planning garden planting, as each type has different growing requirements. True grasses mostly originate from open sunny environments, while sedges tolerate shade and extremes of moist or dry soil. Rushes do best in moist soil, boggy ground, or shallow water. (Source: www.gardenersworld.com)

 

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