Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Porcupine Sedge

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carex hystericina

    COMMON NAMES: Porcupine Sedge, Bottlebrush Sedge

    BLOOM TIME: June


    • One of the “bottlebrush” sedges, resembling the brush.
    • Large tufted wetland sedge.
    • Yellow-green in color.
    • 3 angled or sided stem, 8-30 in. tall.
    • Narrow 2mm wide leaves, that are widespread & 5-10” long, smooth on top & rough on bottom.
    • Female spikelets are 2 in. long, oblong & drooping, bright green, prickly looking like a bottle brush.
    • Male spikelets are slender & oat looking.      
    • Habitat: full sun & wet conditions, marshes & swamps.
    • Found occasional in north and central Illinois.     


    • A variety of insects feed on wetland sedges, including sedge grasshoppers, semi-aquatic leaf beetles, billbugs, stem-boring larvae of various flies, seed bugs, plant bugs, various aphids, & leafhoppers.
    • Larvae of the butterfly Eyed Brown, skippers, & various moths feed on sedges.
    • Among vertebrate animals, the seeds & seedheads are an important source of food to waterfowl, rails, & some songbirds.
    • Muskrats occasionally eat the rhizomes, culms, & young shoots.