Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Carex pansa

Common Name
California Meadow Sedge
CA Native
California Native
Plant Type
Grass or grass-like plant
4" - 8"
Flower Color
1/8" Wide Glossy Green Leaves
Bloom Time
  • Spring
Narrow Green 6" - 8" High if Unmowed
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
Growth Rate
Adverse Growth Factors
Special Features
  • Erosion Control
  • Low Maintenance
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

According to John Greenlee, this is a great lawn substitute.  Dark green and glossy with tiny spring flower spikes, it has a tousled, swirly appearance if left unmowed but can be occasionally mowed for a more subdued lawn look.  It is evergreen with enough water with little discoloration.  It can be drought tolerant but will go summer dormant in dry hot areas without occasional water.  Loves full sun but tolerates light shade.  Good soil stabilizer.  It is good for dog runs or children's play areas.  It tolerates heavy soils, coastal conditions.

Master Gardener Comments

This grass is best established by plugs although propagation is easy by division.  This Carex is worth a try for areas where you have a lawn because of its low water requirements.  Untidy in a charming, floppy way it adds character and texture to the landscape.  Occasionally its spreading nature needs to be contained.


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