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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects

Native Grasses, Sedges, Rushes

List also includes other grass-like plants.

Carex amplifolia
Bigleaf Sedge
Leaves deciduous.
Carex canescens
Grey Sedge
Leaves deciduous.
Carex cusickii
Cusick's Sedge
A woodland sedge with grass-like leaves and small clusters of tiny greenish flowers.
Leaves are generally shorter than flowering stems; size: 3-5 mm. Leaves deciduous.
Carex obnupta
Slough Sedge
Large grass-like plant creating thick patches in coastal wetlands.
Height: 1-5 feet (30-150 cm).
Leaves are coarse, firm and shorter than stems. Shape: flat to channelled, with margins rolled under; size: 3-10 mm wide; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Carex pachystachya
Thick-head Sedge
Leaves evergreen.
Carex stipata
Sawbeak Sedge
Leaves deciduous.
Carex vulpinoidea
Fox Sedge
Leaves deciduous.
Deschampsia cespitosa
Tufted Hairgrass
Densely tufted perennial grass.
Height: Up to 4 feet (120 cm) tall.
Flat to folded, narrow, rather stiff; no auricles; prominent ligules, pointed, 3-8 mm long; size: 2-4 mm wide by 8-20 cm (3-8 in) long; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Eleocharis palustris
Creeping Spikerush
A wetland plant with leafless, grass-like stems topped by small brownish spikes of flowers.
Height: Up to 3 feet (100 cm).
All basal leaves and reduced to mere sheaths without any leaf blades; sheaths are small, thin, dark reddish, and tightly girdle the bases of the stems. Leaves deciduous.
Elymus glaucus
Blue Wild-rye
Tufted perennial grass usually forming small clumps, 0.5 to 1.5 m tall.
Height: 20-40 inches (0.5-1 meter).
Blades are hairless to densely hairy, flat or slightly inrolled, usually lax; auricles well developed, claw-like and clasping; ligules short (1mm long); size: to 0.75" (12mm) wide; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Eriophorum chamissonis
Chamisso's Cotton-grass
Extensive beds growing from spreading rhizomes or stolons with tufts of cotton-like seed heads.
Height: 8-28 inches (20-70 cm).
Dark-brown sheaths at base; blades grass like, narrow, channeled throughout; size: .5-2 mm wide. Leaves deciduous.
Festuca rubra
Red Fescue
Perennial grass with thread-like leaves forming small patches.
Height: Can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.
Super slender leaves less than 1/8 inch wide, practically thread like, folded-inrolled, hairless, no auricles; ligules short, less than 0.5 mm long; color: bluish-green. Leaves evergreen.
Glyceria elata
Tall Mannagrass, Fowl Mannagrass
Tall wetland grass.
Height: Up to 5 feet (1.5 meters).
Flat, lax, 6-12 mm wide, green-yellow; no auricles; ligules 3-6 mm long, short-hairy. Leaves deciduous.
Glyceria grandis
Reed Mannagrass
very similar to G. elata
Height: up to 5 feet (1.5 meters)
flat, bright green when young, 6-18 mm broad, 2 ranked, with brown patch at leaf node; shape: lance; size: 6-18 mm wide; color: bright green. Leaves evergreen.
Hordeum brachyantherum
Meadow Barley
Grass with erect stems that are bent at the base and sometimes hairy on the leaf sheaths.
Height: Up to 3 feet (90 cm).
Flat, 3-8 mm wide, hairless to spreading hairy; no auricles; ligules short, about 0.5 mm long, minutely frilly at tip; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Juncus acuminatus
Tapertip Rush
Tufted perennial grass-like plant.
Height: Up to 32 inches (80 cm).
Half rounded, hollow, prominently joined by crosswalls; auricles prominent on leaf sheaths; shape: linear; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Juncus ensifolius
Daggerleaf Rush
Height: Can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall.
Leaves are laterally flattened like iris leaves, 2-6 mm wide, 3-4 per stem. Leaves deciduous.
Juncus tenuis
Slender Rush
Leaves deciduous.
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani
Softstem Bulrush
Leaves deciduous.
Scirpus maritimus
Seacoast Bulrush
Leaves deciduous.
Scirpus microcarpus
Small-flowered Bulrush
Leaves deciduous.
Sparganium angustifolium
Narrowleaf Bur-reed
Leaves deciduous.
Sparganium eurycarpum
Broadfruit Bur-reed
Leaves deciduous.

The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.