Northwest Territory Sedge

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Other Names:
Beaked Sedge, Sedge
Latin Name:
Carex utriculata
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Northwest Territory Sedge is a moisture-loving, native sedge with edible roots, stems and seeds.

Edible Uses

The Northwest Territory Sedge is a native food with edible roots, shoots and seeds.  The pith of the stems are said to taste sweet, raw or cooked.  The root should be cooked first and the small seeds can be used like a cereal grain.  This native food can provide food at any time of the year! 

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.

Northwest Native American tribes today still value this special plant as food, medicine, and family.  Despite great cultural losses, they continue to work towards stewarding and restoring wild populations, both strengthening the integrity of the ecology and sustaining their cultural heritage and wisdom.  These strong and recovering peoples and plants deserve our respect, gratitude, and reparations. (Learn more & how to help on our Charitable Giving page.)

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

Pot Sizing Guide


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