New York Natural Heritage Program
Creeping Sedge
Carex chordorrhiza Ehrh. ex L. f.
Monocots

General Description [-]
Creeping sedge is a grass-like perennial that grows in patches. The leaves are strap-like and 0.4-3.0 mm long. The stems arise singly and are 5-35 cm long. Some of the stems do not produce flowers and these stems fall down and elongate up to 120 cm long. Some of the stems have 2-7 flower/fruit clusters (spikes) towards their apices. These spikes are egg shaped, attach directly to the stems, and are composed of male flowers above and female flowers below. The female flowers mature into fruits (perigynia) which are 2.0-4.5 mm long and have a small beak at their apex (Reznicek and Catling 2002).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
This species is easiest to identify when it has mature or just immature perigynia. It can be identified at other times of the year based on its vegetative characteristics but not as easily or definitively.

Similar Species [-]
Carex chordorrhiza is a very distinctive sedge especially because it has vegetative culms that root at the nodes. This character is shared by only a few other species of Carex which are all quite distinct from C. chordorrhiza.
Creeping Sedge Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Carex chordorrhiza starts to produce immature perigynia in June. These mature and perist till late July or early August. Towards the end of this season the perigynia start to shed easily. This species can be recognized at other times of the year based on vegetative charcteristics but it is most obvious when it is in fruit. Therefore, the best time to survey for this species is from the second week in June through mid-July.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Vegetative Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Creeping Sedge vegetative (blue shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.