Palm sedge forms dense clumps and is a good choice for wetland areas and stormwater management projects.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’ is a dense clump forming moisture loving sedge. Leaves are attractive and bright green with a clear yellow border. The leaf arrangement and shape is reminiscent of a palm frond. In summer triangular leafy culms rise slightly above the foliage bearing inconspicuous narrow ellipse shaped spikelets. This sedge adapts best to wet shaded or partly shaded sites. Plants will grow in sun if sufficient moisture is present.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: The parent sedge is native to Ontario and the central United States from Minnesota to Ohio and south to Arkansas. The greatest distribution is in states surrounding the Great Lakes.
Carex muskingumensis is indigenous to shaded wet sites like swamps, sloughs, wet woodlands, bottomland forests, river floodplains and sedge meadows.
This cultivar is a sport of the species found in the garden of famous landscape designer Wolfgang Oehme. The plant was introduced in 1994 by Plant Delights Nursery.
This cultivar is hardy from USDA Zones 4-8.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’ grows in handsome rounded clumps. Plants slowly forms colonies from short creeping rhizomes.
In late spring multiple rigid upright culms rise above the lush basal foliage. The culms are leafy with numerous glossy blades that are up to 1’ long. The leaves are bright green when they emerge from dormancy. After a few weeks a striking yellow border develops around each leaf margin.
The wide spreading leaves are densely arranged on each erect culm giving the appearance of a pinnately compound palm frond. Foliage develops yellow fall color.
Each fertile culm is topped by a narrow inflorescence containing several 1” light green to brown spikelets. The spikelets contain both pistillate and staminate florets.
Plants are more compact than the straight species. They are 1-2’’ tall with an equal spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’ prospers in dappled to full shade in moist fertile soil. Plants tolerate sun if soil is consistently moist. This sedge also thrives in clay soil or shallow standing water.
Plants may flop in dense shade. The appearance is improved if plants are cut to the ground in late winter.
This sedge is pest resistant and fairly unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’ is a useful as an Accent or in Containers and Water Gardens. Plants provide Fall Color and are functional in Erosion Control. This sedge is an appropriate component of a Groundcover, Mass Planting, Deer Resistant Planting, Rain Garden or Wildlife Garden.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing plants with Acorus americanus, Anemone canadensis, Asclepias incarnata, Chelone glabra, Eupatorium purpureum, Iris versicolor or Lobelia siphilitica.
Carex muskingumensis can be substituted if needed but leaves will not have the golden margin.
TRIVIA: Caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage. Many species of wetland birds feed on the seed and seek cover in the foliage.
The strange sounding specific epithet is in reference to the Muskingum River in Ohio where the parent species commonly occurs.