Northwest Territory Sedge

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Other Names:
Beaked Sedge
Latin Name:
Carex utriculata

Northwest Territory Sedge is a moisture-loving, native sedge with edible roots, stems and seeds.

Edible Uses

The Northwest Territories Sedge is a perennial sedge that thrives in marshy areas and has edible roots, shoots and seeds. This sedge can provide food at any time of the year! The pith of the stems can be eaten raw or cooked and has a sugary taste, they were a favorite snack of native children. The roots are edible when cooked and the small seeds can be used like a grain.

Ornamental Qualities

Northwest Territory Sedge is an excellent choice in the ornamental wetland, it produces long stems that cap in an inflorescence, a cylindrical mass of flowers. Each inflorescence has up to 200 small seeds encased in a shiny green, golden or brown sheath. The long thin leaves change from light green in the spring to golden brown in the fall.

Environment and Culture

Northwest Territories Sedge occurs in open swamps, wet thickets, marshes, sedge meadows, bogs and fens, as well as on stream, pond, and lakeshores across the Pacific Northwest. It was used for food by many Native Americans and it is known that children favored the pith for its sweet flavor.

Harvest, Care, and Preparation

The pith from the stems is best harvested in spring and early summer. The seeds should be harvested in fall after they have completely dried. They will need to be threshed and separated from the chaff, soak in water for up to 24 hours before cooking. Try mixing the seeds with other wild grains or add it to oatmeal or other hot breakfast cereals. The roots are best harvested in the winter but are edible year round.

Make sure to establish the plants with lots of water for the first summer. After establishment the Northwest Territory Sedge needs at least seasonal flooding but can tolerate drying out in the summer.

  • Native Range: CA, OR, WA, BC
  • USDA zones: Hardy down to zone 3
  • Ease of Care: Easy
  • Deer Resistance: High
  • Light Requirements: Full Sun-Part Shade
  • Soil Type: Any
  • Water Requirements: Moist-Aquatic
  • Pollination: Self-Fertile
  • Bearing Age: 1-2 years
  • Size at Maturity: 2-4ft
  • Bloom Time: June-August
  • Harvest Time: Winter