Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Prairie Oval Sedge

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carex bicknellii

    COMMON NAME: Prairie Oval Sedge, Copper-shouldered Oval Sedge, Bicknell's Sedge

    BLOOM TIME: June, July


    • Grows to 1½-2½ ft. tall with flowering heads to 3 ft. tall.
    • Green to light green in color.
    • Spring seed head shape & color give it the common name Copper-shouldered oval sedge.
    • Like all sedges has triangular shaped stems.
    • More tolerant of dry soil than other sedges.
    • Grows during spring & fall when soil temperatures are cool.
    • Found in high quality prairie remnants.
    • Habitat: sunny locations with moist to dry soil, found in prairies, hill prairies, cemetery prairies, barren rocky areas, thinly wooded slopes, & savannas.
    • Named to honor, American botanist & ornithologist, Eugene P. Bicknell (1859-1925) for his keen observation of plants & animals.


    • Host plants to the Red-legged Grasshopper, Large-headed Grasshopper, & other grasshoppers.
    • Southern Corn Billbug feeds on sedges.
    • Some upland gamebirds & grain eating songbirds eat seeds in summer, fall, or winter including Ring-Necked Pheasant, Greater Prairie Chicken, Horned Lark, Savannah Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, & Slate-Colored Junco.
    • Sedges not preferred as food source but are grazed occasionally by hoofed mammalian herbivores.